Mosque-Building on the Ottoman-Venetian Frontier, circa 1550–1650: The Phenomenon of Square-Tower Minarets Revisited

In: Muqarnas Online
View More View Less


In the Balkan region of Herzegovina is found a series of Ottoman-period mosques distinguished by minarets of an atypical form: unlike standard Ottoman designs with cylindrical or polygonal minaret shafts, the square plan of these minarets makes them more reminiscent of bell towers. Despite this salient and unusual feature, the “campanile minarets,” as some scholars choose to call them, remain little studied as a historical phenomenon; outside the former Yugoslavia, they are still practically unknown. The current article aims to establish the reasons for the popularity and dissemination of this curious architectural feature in a particular region and time. It discusses two hypotheses that link square-tower minarets morphologically to the Catholic Adriatic and Arab world, but ultimately offers a different interpretation of their formal origins and their establishment as a type.