Qantara Qantara

Original minaret of the mosque of Árchez

  • Name : Original minaret of the mosque of Árchez
  • Place : Province of Málaga, Spain
  • Construction date/period : Thirteenth-fifteenth century
  • Construction materials : Bricks, masonry; decorated with bricks, glazed ceramic tiles, and paint
  • Dimensions : Side: 3.64m; height: 15m
  • Restoration :

    The minaret of Árchez was restored in 1989 by the cultural committee of the Andalusian Autonomous Government, which carried out the project of the architect José Ramon Cruz del Campo. It was declared a listed building in 1979.

The minaret, located in Pilar street in the centre of Árchez, was built in the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries. However, the Mudéjar church, which dates from the fifteenth century, was built on the former site of the mosque. When the church was completed, the minaret was transformed into a bell tower.

This Nasrid minaret is one of the finest examples in the Iberian Peninsula. The minaret has a square plan and its current entrance is higher than was originally the case. It is comprised of an initial masonry structure resting on a bed of bricks. On this structure are two other structures, which are more richly decorated than the first. There is a bell tower at the top of the tower, built at a later date. Inside, a spiral stairway with a rampant cradle vault is linked to the corners of the construction by ribs. The minaret is richly decorated. There are ribbed motifs on its north, south, and west façades, and each side is decorated with a pattern of shaped bricks, whose ovoid chain links turn into rings on the last line. Originally, this network developed from small slim columns that have now disappeared. Inside the chain links are the remains of a red pigment, suggesting there may have been a painted vegetal decoration. A frieze of ovoid ceramic tiles painted blue on a white background, separate these large panels from the upper section ornamented with small horseshoe arches that intersect by forming pointed arches, which also have traces of red paint used for geometric decoration.

This construction is typical of the minarets of mosques built in Muslim Spain and North Africa. The minaret's decoration and architecture suggest it was influenced by Almohad minarets in the Iberian Peninsula (the best surviving example is the Giralda in Sevilla), and North Africa. There are many similarities with several Moroccan minarets. The finest contemporary Andalusian example is the mosque of San Juan de los Reyes in Granada (as in Árchez, the mosque no longer exists). Similarities with contemporary North African[1] minarets have led some writers to suggest that these architectural works can be considered as the work of craftsmen from workshops in Malaga, who came to work for the Marinids in Africa.


[1] The a-Banat minaret in Ksar el Kebir and the Almohad minaret in Salé (twelfth century).


Jimenéz, A., La arquitectura en Al-Andalus. Documentos para el siglo XXI, Grenade, Barcelone, 1995, Fundación El Legado Andalusí-Lunwerg.

López Guzmán, R., Arquitectura de al-Andalus : Almería, Granada, Jaén, Málaga, Grenade, 2002, Fundación El Legado Andalusí, Comares.

Diario Sur, Málaga, disponible sur : <">>, (consulté le 10/10/08).

Diócesis de Málaga , disponible sur : <>, (consulté le 10/10/08). 

Sociedad de Planificación y Desarrollo SOPDE S.A. [en ligne], disponible sur : <>, (consulté le 10/10/08).

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