The minaret of the Great Mosque was commissioned by the judge (qadi) of Aleppo during the rule of the Seljuk dynasty in Syria. The beginning of its construction is indicated in the inscription at the base and the completion date is found at the top: 483 and 489 AH / 1090 and 1096 AD. It existed until 2013.
The minaret is a square shape, its shaft is approximately 45 m high and made of limestone. On its upper edge, there is a cornice formed by two rows of flat arched niches lavishly adorned by floral elements. This is topped by an open wooden gallery for the muezzin (prayer caller) and a short tower with cupola.
Between the base and the top, the minaret is divided into four zones of varying height. Those are, except for the second one, decorated with blind arches formed by profiled mouldings each running uninterruptedly around the minaret’s shaft. Each zone is separated by friezes with calligraphic, artistically written, Arabic inscriptions. These exquisitely carved inscriptions are written in floriated Kufi – a script style distinguished by bold letters adorned with floral motifs – and in Naskhi script.
At the base of the minaret is the signature of the architect Hasan ibn Mufrih al-Sarmani written inside a cartouche. The inscription from the minaret’s base shows that the local Aleppine judge and the Seljuk governor shared power in the city, as their names are mentioned together:
“The mosques of God are only to be maintained by those who believe in God and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakat [(alm-tax); Quran 9:18].
It was started to be built by the High Judge Ibn al-Khashshab Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Khashshab, may God have mercy on him.
In the days of al-Amin al-ʿAjal al-Muzaffar Qasim al-Dawla wa-Nasir al-Mila Abi Saʿid Aqsunqur Bak, the slave of the Commander of the Faithful, may God enhance his supporters”.
The upper inscriptions indicate the names of the then ruling Seljuk sultans Malikshah I and Tutush, and of Barakat ibn Faris, commander of the urban militia.