Alminar de San Juan
Minaret in Córdoba
Alminar de San Juan or Minaret of San Juan is a 9th century tower belonging to an old mosque from the Emiral-Caliphal era, located in the Plaza de San Juan in Córdoba, Spain. It is one of the four minarets in Spain declared a Site of Cultural Interest, framed as a Historic-Artistic Monument belonging to the National Artistic Treasury by decree of June 3, 1931. In addition, it is located in the historic center of Córdoba , declared World Heritage Site by Unesco.
History of the Minaret of San Juan
The San Juan Minaret was built at the end of the 9th century or early 10th century, and belonged as such to one of the many medieval mosques that existed throughout the city at that time. As a minaret, its main function was that from above, the muezzin called the faithful five times a day to prayer.
According to a plaque found and preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Córdoba , the mosque was allegedly built by the Cadí Umar ben Hadabas during the government of Emir Abderramán II . Its height must have been higher than what it currently has and it would be crowned with a crenellated terrace , in the style of Islamic constructions. It is the only intact minaret of Muslim Cordoba since the other remaining ones such as the ones belonging to the Aljama Mosque, the Church of San Lorenzo and the Convent of Santa Clara have been heavily modified.
In 1236, when the city was reconquered by Christian troops the building was ceded to the knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem also known as San Juan de los Caballeros and the mosque transformed into the Church of San Juan de los Caballeros. The minaret was converted into a bell tower by adding an upper body of bells.
It is owned now, along with the church, by the religious order Esclavas de Jesús.
What does the Minaret of San Juan look like?
With an an emirate and caliphal style, it is a square tower of 3.70 meters on each side, and a height of 10.92 meters. It is a single body made up of solid stone blocks of limestone, these are called ashlars. is most notable decorative features are the twin caliphal horseshoe arches with marble columns from the Visigothic period.