Spiral Minaret stands tall against the skyline of Manchester. Once known as The Bells of Sydenham, it was meant to be the tallest minaret in England. But the planners soon realized that it would never be able to stand alone. It would require a huge, complicated roof to protect its fragile glass panels. Then there were the weights, with which it had to cope, and the wiring, which had to support the wooden rafters and support the pulleys that turned the pulleys. And there were the bugs, which made the minaret unstable, and there were the cleaners, who always made sure to vacuum the floor before they left.
So the minaret was left in the city, and eventually on the High Street at its current location. It was not an easy task, because the design had been planned by a highly qualified architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens. But he could not get it built. His plans for the Spiral Minaret had included the famous towers in Manchester - The Green Place, The Engine House, and The Albert Hall.
However, the planners and architects could not find space for all these buildings, so they opted to build a new structure, a sixteenth-century minaret. It was a simpler affair than the others and took a shorter time. It was designed to have no windows, but to incorporate an apse, which was a covered walkway. These are the only surviving examples of a religious building in Manchester.
Spiral Minaret is one of only two such buildings in Manchester to contain a century-old minaret. The other one is the Black Madonna, which was built in 1869. The Black Madonna houses the remains of thirty-three ancient statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. It is open to the public on certain Tuesdays during the summer months. During the thirteenth century, the minaret was built as a palace for the queen of Spain.
It was destroyed in the Second World War, but then reconstruction and refurbishment gave it a completely new look. Today, it can be visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to witness the fascinating stories that surround this beautiful building. It is a place of worship for many people.
When you are planning your trip to Manchester, it is well worth taking the time to read about the history of the city and the surrounding area. In particular, you should take time to go to the Cathedral. Although it is often referred to as the world's oldest building, it is much older than that. It is a reminder of a long and violent past.