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Hassan Tower- The 12th Century minaret of incomplete mosque in Morocco was planed to be the largest in the world

Ian Smith

Hassan Tower or Tour Hassan is the minaret of an incomplete mosque in Rabat, Morocco. Begun in 1195, the tower was intended to be the largest minaret in the world along with the mosque, also intended to be the world’s largest. In 1199, Sultan Yacub al-Mansour died and construction on the mosque stopped.

The tower reached 44 m (140 ft), about half of its intended 86 m (260 ft) height. The rest of the mosque was also left incomplete, with only the beginnings of several walls and 200 columns being constructed. The tower, made of red sandstone, along with the remains of the mosque and the modern Mausoleum of Mohammed V, forms an important historical and tourist complex in Rabat.

Guards at Hassan Tower, Morocco Source

Guards at Hassan Tower, Morocco Source

 

Remnants of wall at Hassan Tower, Rabat, Morocco..Source

Remnants of wall at Hassan Tower, Rabat, Morocco..Source

 

Remnants of wall at Hassan Tower, Rabat, Morocco Source

Remnants of wall at Hassan Tower, Rabat, Morocco Source

Instead of stairs, the tower is ascended by ramps. The minaret’s ramps would have allowed the muezzin to ride a horse to the top of the tower to issue the call to prayer.

 

The Hassan Tower Source

The Hassan Tower Source

 

 

View of Rabat from Hassan Tower plaza, MoroccoSource

View of Rabat from Hassan Tower plaza, MoroccoSource

 

Wall at Hassan Tower, Rabat, Morocco Source

Wall at Hassan Tower, Rabat, Morocco Source

Founder of the Hassan Tower, Yaqub al-Mansur, was a member of the Almohad Dynasty, a Berber, Muslim empire in West Africa and Iberia. The tower, according to some traditions, was designed by an astronomer and mathematician named Jabir ibn Aflah who was also supposed to have designed Hassan’s sister tower, the Giralda of Seville in Al Andalus (modern day Spain).

Both of the towers were modeled on the minaret based on the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech. Jabir’s involvement in the design of the structure can not be confirmed though and many scholars assume that the tower was designed by Ahmad Ben Basso, the designer of the Koutoubia Mosque. Spanish Renaissance later added a belfry on top of the Giralda, which was converted from a minaret to a bell tower for theSeville Cathedral after the Reconquista.The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on July 1, 1995 in the Cultural category and it was granted World Heritage Status in 2012