JNN 25 Feb 2013 Najaf : The first golden brick laid out on Thursday Feb/21/2013 in a ceremony for the Inaugration of the Beautification Process of the Dome and the two Minarets of the Holy Shrine of Hazrat Ali , was attended by the head of the Shiite entailment bureau Mr. Salih EL-Haidery, the Secretariat-General of the Imam Ali holy shrine, the Secretariat-General of the EL-Abbas holy shrine Sayed Ahmed EL-Safy and some other scholars and politicians.
The Beautification process achieved by an Iraqi hand, and this is the first time for the Imam Ali holy shrine to have its dome and two minarets re gilded. The whole process would be done according to the best international qualities. The cost is about 15 million dollars, and the time of achieving it is 24 months.
The Management of Imam Hussein holy shrine participated in the ceremony of beautification of the dome and two minarets of the Imam Ali holy shrine.
The deputy Secretariat-General of the Imam Ali holy shrine said in an interview that, “It is the time for rehabilitating what has been neglected before, and this is the time we would offer the best services possible for the Pilgrims”.
The Golden Dome
Two domes cover the sacred mausoleum of Imam Ali (PBUH): an internal convex in the form of almost half round hemisphere and embroidered with beautiful mosaic tiles. The dome is raised above the ground by (23.50 m). The external dome is of bulbous shape which is of (18.15 m) in height from its base to the top of the dome with the name of Allah, which sits at its summit and there is a space between the two mentioned layers. The diameter of the dome interior is (13.5) m, while the external diameter of the dome is (16.6) m. The external shape of the dome is unique as there is no mosque or shrine dome in the worldthat matches it. The Dome of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) is one of highest domes and characterized with its cylindrical base, which increases its prestige and significance. It is considered to be one of the most technically accurate and architecturally coordinated domes and is spectacular in sight.
The Two Golden Minaretes
The Golden Minaretes are located on both sides of the golden Iwan (courtyard) – on the main entrance to the shrine – within the area of the courtyard of the shrine, the minarets with the golden dome are considered the most beautiful and most important parts of architecture in the holy shrine of Imam Ali, where the minarets are the prominent part of the architecture of any holy shrine of this kind.
Each minaret is based on a floor base of (2.4 m), and the base which of 3 meter diameter is covered with marble cladding.
The minaret height is (29 m) which is in the form of cylinder with decreasing diameter as goes up. The top third of the minaret is surrounded with golden plate written on it verses from the holy Quran in a blue enamel. Above this golden tape there is some engraved golden shapes of an outstanding beauty. then above the tape is the Athan (call for prayers) balcony. This balcony is of a height (2.25 m) in diameter at its base (1.8 m) in diameter from the top (1.25 m), where 12 open windows on all sides, and above the balcony a small cylinder of a diameter of more than one meter approximately, rising to four meters and ending with golden lobed dome, topped with a column that has metal balls gold plated, and holds at the top the holy name of Allah gold plated with height of (1.6 m).Each minaret from the top to its base is coated with pure gold, gold and most parts of a diamond shape with side length of one plate (19.5 cm), the number of gold plates of the southern minaret is about the (2000) plate of each minaret.
Above the base of the minarets that enveloped with marble the gilding starts with a band engraved with a poem chronicling of gilding, as chronicled on the northern minaret adjacent to the tomb of the Al’Allama Alhilly with Persian poems.
The date of construction of the minarets, although it is not fixed on the face of the investigation, but there is no doubt they are of Safavid style and goes back to the reign of Shah Abbas, they are part of original construction of the shrine, they have been undergone the renovations ordered by Sultan Nadir Shah in year (1156 AH), who visited Najaf at that time, where he was ordered to remove Alqachan (glazed tiles), which was enveloping the dome and minarets and the great Iwan and replaced them with gold-plated plates, by bringing specialists in this work although this process cost huge amount money.
There have been several attempts to refurbish the two minarets after been gilded by Nadir Shah, the first was by the order of Haji Mohammad Hussain Khan Alasabhani Minister for Fateh Ali Shah of the year (1236), due to the erosion of some of their aspects and fallen of the golden sheets. Also the southern minaret was repaired that is adjacent to the Shrine of the Holy Ardebili in the year (1281) by order of Sultan Abdul Aziz Khan Al-Uthmani after extraction the golded sheets and completely demolished and rebuilt and returned the sheets, while they repaired the northern minaret adjacent to the shrine of the Allama Alhilli year (1315 AH) by order of Sultan Abdul Hamid Khan Al-Uthmani after extraction the golden sheets and half-demolished and rebuilding and return the sheet. The work was completed on the tenth of Jamadi Alakhira year (1316).The southern minaret was repaired again in the month of Jamadi Alakhir year (1352 Hijri) by demolishing of the upper part of the minaret and reconstruct it at the expense of the Directorate of Awqaf of the Iraqi government, while the repair of the Northern one again by the Awqaf also years (1366 Hijri). The demolition and the rebuild of the the upper part of them was based on reports of structure engineers and specialists who have visited Najaf for this purpose.
Sheikh Jaafar has narrated that in the early years of (1367 H) that the golden sheets were removed and the northern part and the top was demolished in order to be returned to their previous state, and the completion of the work was on last month of Rajab of the same year.
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