A ninth-century spiral minaret is among the historical structures in the Samarra Archaeological City in Iraq, 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) north of Baghdad. UNESCO's World Heritage Committee chose Samarra for the World Heritage list because of its rich cultural remains related to the Abbasid empire, one of Baghdad's two great Sunni dynasties.
The Abbasid Dynasty, which lasted from A.D. 750 to 1258, is historically recognized as an age of great intellectual achievement.
Also on UNESCO's list of World Heritage in Danger, Samarra's archaeological remains are constantly threatened by warfare in the region. The city was once home to the largest mosque in the world. Now all that remains is its walls and the spiral minaret shown above.