Monar Jonban – Shaking Minarets
Monar Jonban is a mystery in architectural context. Introducing one of the most wonderful architectural places in Isfahan, you should never miss this masterpiece. The reason that it has called Monar Jonban is the fact that this building consists of two shaking minarets. Because, when the special guard climbs up the narrow spiral staircase in order to shake one of the minarets energetically, another minaret will shake simultaneously and this happening is one of the discerning attributes of the place. The location is in far western part of Isfahan (about 30 km from the city center). In this article of Chiyakotravel, we will get to know this masterpiece in more details.
Why visit Isfahan Monar Jonban?
- It is one of the most unique structures of Iranian-Islamic architecture in Iran.
- The special feature of this building is shaking and shivering minarets of the building which has been shaking since the 8th century AH and has remained intact until now.
- It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Isfahan.
- The minarets of Monar Jonban are among the lightest and thinnest minarets in the world, and therefore their vibration is very noticeable.
Everything about Monar Jonban | Tomb of Sheikh Amir Abdullah
We go to the west of beautiful city of Isfahan to watch one of the most amazing architectural structures of the city, Monar Jonban of Isfahan. Monar Jonban is originally a building built on the tomb of a mystic named Uncle Abdullah Karladani who lived in the eighth century AH (during the reign of Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh Al-Jaito). The roof is made in the shape of a dome and the tomb of this mystic is located just below the dome of the roof.
This building has two 17-meter minarets, the structure and engineering used in them are such that by shaking one of the minarets, the other minaret also shakes. It is interesting to know that the minarets of this building are thin and light, so the vibration of the minarets is very noticeable.
The beautiful decorations of the building include the turquoise tiles of the entrance arch, the minarets and the four-pointed stars. In general, it can be said that the architecture is very close to the architectural style of the Ilkhanates. Monar Janban has been in the list of national monuments of Iran since 1321 with number 349.
Different parts of Monar Jonban
The most prominent part of Monar Jonban is its minarets which are made of clay and decorated with turquoise, black and white tiles. Inside the minarets are spiral staircases that lead to the roof and the top of the minarets. It is said that these minarets were built several years after the construction of main building during the Safavid period.
But what arouses most of all our curiosity as a visitor is the answer of following questions:
Why do the minarets move?
Many experts have researched this over the years. But the most scientific theory belongs to Hamid Shahinpour, the head of the research committee of the Iranian Indigenous Technologies Association. He believes that features such as the using light materials such as clay, the shortness of the minarets, the distance of the minarets from the building and the wooden coils used at the top and bottom of the minarets have a great impact on their vibration. To better understand the cause of the vibration of the minarets, Mr. Shahinpour stimulates them as two hanging threads that are connected at the bottom with a common thread. Therefore, as soon as one of the threads shakes, the other thread also moves, and if the height and weight of the minarets were not equal, this vibration would not have occurred. In physics, this phenomenon is called resonance.
Another question that may come to your mind is why the building has not collapsed yet, despite the many shocks and vibrations?
If you look closely at the building of the minarets, you will see grooves between different parts of the building that have created space between the walls. These distances allow the building to have enough space to move as soon as the minarets move; Something that prevents the destruction of the building.
Do only the minarets shake?
The answer is no. Shaking one minaret shakes not only the other, but the whole building. For this reason, objects have been placed in different parts of the building so that these vibrations can be clearly seen. These objects include bells on a pair of minarets, a wall clock on the porch and glass drawn around Uncle Abdullah’s grave all of which shake during shaking. In the past, a bowl of water was placed on the grave of Uncle Abdullah; But today, because visitors watch the building shake from the outside, they no longer use the water bowl.
Who shakes the minarets?
Inside the building, there is a person in charge of shaking the minaret who is allowed to climb the stairs of the minaret and shake the minarets. Of course, in the past, visitors could also shake the minarets individually; But now it is banned for better protection of the building. In the past, the muezzin would go to the top of the minarets to say the call to prayer and sang while shaking the minarets.
2- The porch of the minaret
The porch of the building is where Uncle Abdullah’s tomb is located. This porch is about 10 meters high and 146 meters in area and was most likely built before the minarets.
3- Tomb of Uncle Abdullah
Uncle Abdullah with the full name “Uncle Abdullah Karladani or Uncle Abdullah Saqlabi (or Saqlaii)” was one of the mystics of the eighth century AH who was buried in the current place after his death. There is not much information about Uncle Abdullah, but it is written on his grave that:
This is the grave of Sheikh Zahid Uncle Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Mahmoud Saqlabi. God bless him. He was deceased on the seventeenth of Dhu al-Hijjah in the year 716.
The date of his death engraved on his grave shows that he lived during the reign of Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh.
4- Other graves
In the porch or main courtyard, in addition to the tomb of Uncle Abdullah, there are several other tombs most of which are white and date back to the Safavid period. One of the possibilities for these tombs is that in the past, the space around the minarets was a public cemetery of which a few tombs remain and later it was built on the cemetery.
5- Cheleh Khaneh
Cheleh Khaneh is a place where mystics let everything goes for 40 days and are alone with their god. There are also two small rooms in the Monar Jonban building which are known as Chele Khaneh.
Monar Jonban History
Safavid or Ilkhanate era artists constructed this monument in 14th century. There is a porch in this monument which had been assembled in 1316 during Ilkhanate dominance. Monar Jonban is located in over the tombstone of Sufi Amu Abdollah who was buried there. Later that time, architectures living in Safavid era (15th–17th centuries) built the brick minarets. The height of the porch is 10 meters and its width is 10 meters. So the minarets are 17 meters and 7 meters higher than the porch. There is also nice hand painting tiles and artistic brickwork on the ceiling above the shrine.
Why you should not miss Monar Jonban?
This historical heritage is one the most amazing wonders in the world. Researchers could not understand how it works for many years. Why one of the minarets starts vibrating automatically after the other one is shaken, is because of this scientific fact that the structure of building is U-shape. The balanced ratio between minaret’s height and width and porch’s width causes a shake in the whole building moderately. No one can discover the mystery of the event yet. Architectures decorated the entire porch with Inlaid mosaics with wavy lines and polygonal azure tiles. Dark blue tiles cover the inner side of its arch. Most of travelers admire this structure as a mysterious and wonderful heritage.
Tasteful and skillful artists of Safavid era constructed Monar Jonban. They used turquoise polygon tiles to decorate the erection. They also adorn the place by aqua tiles which look like stars. There is an entrance with spiral staircase in the building which connects the roof and minarets. It means that by accessing the entrance you can reach them.
Time of shaking minarets
The shaking minarets are the main reason for the popularity of Monar Jonban around the world. There are specific times during daytime which the special guards start the event of shaking minarets. If you like visiting architectural, historical mysteries, you will enjoy the moment that shaking one minaret leads to the other one vibration. Then the whole building starts to shake slightly. Here are the times that guards start shaking it. Be careful that the guards do not allow visitors to go upstairs through the spiral staircase of minarets due to the potential risks of any damages to the structure.
10:30 AM 12:00 PM 1:30 PM 3:00 PM 4:00 PM
How can you visit Monar Jonban?
Visiting Monar Jonban is a great experience for everyone especially those who are interested in architecture and history. This is only one of the many amazing places you should visit while traveling to Iran. Chiyacotravel executes various kinds of city tours for travelers from all around the globe to facilitate visiting this place as far as possible. As the place is a bit far from the city center, we recommend you to let us provide you the transfer and local guide in order to have an unforgettable visit. For more Information, please contact us.
One of the minarets is no longer moving!
One of the problems we always face in discussing historical monuments is how to preserve them. Monar Jonban, this valuable historical monument, has been visited by tourists for many years, and because tourists can see the minarets shaking, they shake the minarets more than 6 times a day, and even in the past, visitors were allowed to enter the minarets, Shaking them which has stopped in recent years. Now, after years, the left minaret no longer moves and, in a sense, it is loose and does not move when the right minaret is shaken!
Now the question arises whether this building has the same power and strength as past that its shaking does not cause any problems in it? Are the minarets in very special maintenance conditions? And finally, do they still need to shake the minarets?