Why is the minaret so short? evidence for earthquake damage on mt zion

Motti Zohar, Rehav Rubin, Amos Salamon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On top of King Davids Sepulchre atMtt Zion there is an Ottoman minaret known as al-Nabi Da' ud. Compared with other minarets in Jerusalem, al-Nabi Da' ud seems to be somewhat shorter, and has a squat-like appearance. To track why it is shorter than other minarets, we inspected written historical sources, a sequence ofold drawings dated between the mid-eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries and analysed the minaret s metric proportions. In drawings dated to and before 1833, the minaret is portrayed much higher than in drawings and photographs dated to and after 1838. Furthermore, comparative height-diameter ratio ofvarious parts of the minaret does not fit those of its counterpart, the al-QkaF a minaret. Thus, we suggest that the minaret was originally built higher but damaged during the 1834 earthquake, and reconstructed to a lower height sometimes afterwards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-246
Number of pages17
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Palestine Exploration Fund 2015.


  • 1834 earthquake
  • Jerusalem
  • Minaret
  • Mt Zjon
  • Ottoman buildings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Religious studies
  • Archaeology


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