Samarra Archaeological City is the site of a powerful Islamic capital that once ruled over the provinces of the Abbasid Empire, which extended from Tunisia to central Asia, for a century. Located on both sides of the Tigris River 130 kilometres north of Baghdad, the site is 41.5 kilometres long from north to south and 4–8 kilometres wide. The city testifies to the architectural and artistic innovations that arose there and spread to other regions of the Islamic world and beyond. The 9th century Great Mosque and its 27-metre-high spiral minaret are among the numerous remarkable architectural monuments of the site, eighty percent of which remains to be excavated. The minaret can be readily located in the right part of the image by its long shadow. Even the tower’s spiral form can be recognised. Right and left of the conspicuous circular building at the lower edge of the image are the ruins of the Dar al-Khilafa palace, built in 836.
The image was taken on 27 February 2003 by the Ikonos satellite and has a resolution of one metre. It covers an area of three by six kilometres.
Credit: Space Imaging Middle East/DLR.