San Sebastian’s Minaret
The Minaret of San Sebastián is a small tower that was part of one of Ronda’s mosques and which was transformed into a belfry for the now disappeared San Sebastián church. It was declared as a monument of historical and artistical interest in 1931.
Minarets are typical elements in Islamic architecture. They are towers where the “almuêdano” or “muecîn” (religious teachers) go up to to call the faithful for prayer. They are widely used all over the Islamic world and they became a symbol of the presence of the Arabs in the territories that they conquered.
The San Sebastián mineret has a square floor plan and three tiers. The first two were built in the 14th century, while the third was built in the Christian period. On the west side there is a horseshoe arched entrance which leads the way to a small room which has an arris type vault. There is a large keystone lintel with others on the two sides. This, in turn, is bordered by a double layered glazed tile green decorative strip, which can be seen slightly even today.
Squared-off stone blocks have been used in the construction of this first tier, but the height that they reach is different on each side, as if the work had been partially completed at one moment, and then finished off with bricks later on. The second tier is completely built in bricks. In the centre of each side of the mineret there is a rectangular section that is slightly sunken in which two small arches have been opened for the daylight to penetrate and light up the inside. Originally the rectangles were decorated with brick arches that were so cut as to take a rhombus shape, but these no longer exist. This second tier is finished off with a ledge that is lain to stand out from the bricks and which is decorated with a glazed tile band thast circles the four sides. This layer of coloured tiles is what separates it from the third tier, which is also made of bricks and which was built during the Christian reign post-reconquest.
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