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minaret

minaret (mĬnərĕt´), tower, used in Islamic architecture, from which the faithful are called to prayer by a muezzin. Most mosques have one or more small towers, which are usually placed at the corners. The earliest structures specifically built as minarets were the four low square towers at the four corners of the Mosque of Amr in Egypt (AD 673). The square form remained in use in Syria until the 13th cent. and in the Maghreb until modern times; the minaret of Giralda in Seville (AD 1195) is famous. The free-standing conical minaret surrounded by a spiral staircase, probably deriving from the ancient Babylonian ziggurat, was built at Samarra, Iraq, and in Cairo in the second half of the 9th cent. The most typical Egyptian development is seen in the octagonal minarets of the two 15th-century Cairo mosques of El-Azhar and Kait-bey; both have two balconies, the upper smaller than the lower, over projecting friezes of stalactite vaulting and are surmounted by an elongated and bulbous finial. The most distinctly Persian development (see Persian art and architecture) are the two pairs of slim, towering minarets flanking the huge entrance arches of the Isfahan Masjid-i Shah (c.1612); the conical shafts terminate in covered balconies and are entirely encased in brilliant blue tiles. See Islamic art and architecture.

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Minaret

MINARET

Tower associated with a mosque.

The minaret has been used for centuries by muezzins (Arabic mu'adhdhinun, Muslim criers) for the call to daily prayers, but its original use is unclear. The earliest mosques in Arabia had no minaret, and the first towers in seventh-century Cairo (Egypt) and Damascus (Syria) may not have been built expressly for the call.

Minarets have been designed in many styles over time and space. Early ones were often square or octagonal, some with winding exterior staircases, while the sixteenth-century Ottomans built needle-thin, cylindrical minarets with conical peaks. Today, the muezzin does not always climb the minaret to call for prayers; minarets are often outfitted with loudspeakers.

elizabeth thompson

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minaret

minaret a slender tower, typically part of a mosque, with a balcony from which a muezzin calls Muslims to prayer. Recorded from the late 17th century, the word comes from French or Spanish and ultimately, via Turkish, from Arabic manār(a) ‘lighthouse, minaret’, based on nār ‘fire or light’.

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minaret

minaret Tower of a mosque from which the muezzin calls a Muslim to prayer. A mosque may have several minarets, and they vary enormously in shape and height. The earliest minarets (c.673) were built in Egypt as low square towers; later Persian developments included covered balconies and tiling.

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minaret

minaret. Tall, slender tower (circular, rectangular, or polygonal on plan), usually attached to a mosque, with one or more projecting balconies from which Muslims are called to prayer.

Bibliography

Bloom (1989);
Hilenbrand (1994);
Jane Turner (1996)

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minaret

min·a·ret / ˌminəˈret/ • n. a tall slender tower, typically part of a mosque, with a balcony from which a muezzin calls Muslims to prayer. DERIVATIVES: min·a·ret·ed adj.

minaret

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minaret

minaret XVII. — F. minaret or Sp. minarete, It. minaretto — Turk. minare — Arab. manāra minaret, lighthouse, f. base of nūr light.

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Minaret

Minaret (tower): see MOSQUE.

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minaret

minaretabet, aiguillette, anisette, Annette, Antoinette, arête, Arlette, ate, baguette, banquette, barbette, barrette, basinet, bassinet, beget, Bernadette, beset, bet, Bette, blanquette, Brett, briquette, brochette, brunette (US brunet), Burnett, cadet, caravanette, cassette, castanet, cigarette (US cigaret), clarinet, Claudette, Colette, coquette, corvette, couchette, courgette, croquette, curette, curvet, Debrett, debt, dinette, diskette, duet, epaulette (US epaulet), flageolet, flannelette, forget, fret, galette, gazette, Georgette, get, godet, grisette, heavyset, Jeanette, jet, kitchenette, La Fayette, landaulet, launderette, layette, lazaret, leatherette, let, Lett, lorgnette, luncheonette, lunette, Lynette, maisonette, majorette, maquette, Marie-Antoinette, marionette, Marquette, marquisette, martinet, met, minaret, minuet, moquette, motet, musette, Nanette, net, noisette, nonet, novelette, nymphet, octet, Odette, on-set, oubliette, Paulette, pet, Phuket, picquet, pillaret, pincette, pipette, piquet, pirouette, planchette, pochette, quartet, quickset, quintet, regret, ret, Rhett, roomette, rosette, roulette, satinette, septet, serviette, sestet, set, sett, sextet, silhouette, soubrette, spinet, spinneret, statuette, stet, stockinet, sublet, suffragette, Suzette, sweat, thickset, threat, Tibet, toilette, tret, underlet, upset, usherette, vedette, vet, vignette, vinaigrette, wagonette, wet, whet, winceyette, yet, Yvette •quodlibet • alphabet •ramjet, scramjet •propjet • turbojet • etiquette • outlet •triolet • calumet • cermet

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