Great Mosque of Samarra

Samarra, Iraq

Bombed 2005 

The Disappointed Tourist: Great Mosque of Samarra, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 24 x 18″ (61 x 46 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Great Mosque of Samarra (Arabic: جَامِع سَامَرَّاء ٱلْكَبِيْر‎) was a mosque commissioned in 848 and completed in 851 by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil. It was once the largest in the world until its destruction by the Mongol ruler Hulagu Khan, during his 1278 invasion of Iraq, leaving behind only the exterior walls and its distinctive 52 m (188 ft) spiral Malwiya Tower. The tower is located within the 15,058-hectare (37,210-acre) Samarra Archaeological City UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed in 2007. The minaret was partially destroyed in April 2005, when insurgents bombed the tower because the US troops had been using it as a lookout position. The painting is based on an uncredited photograph.

Requested by Erinn H.