|Ruins of a huge mosque 2500 years old, with spiral tower famous to artists and architects. Located approx. 80 miles northwest of Baghdad. See novel "Appointment in Samarra" by John O'Hara.
Editor's note/additional info from user "Watts": This is the Great Mosque of Samarra and the famous Malwiya spiral minaret. The mosque was designed to seat 80,000 people and at 409,000 square feet, is one of the largest in the world. The Malwiya minaret has an unusual spiral design and stands 170 feet tall on the north side of the Great Mosque.
That minaret definitely sticks out. I remember seeing it on the horizon during two trips to Tikrit when we bypassed Samarra on Highway 1.
In April 2005, insurgents blew the top off of the 1100 year-old minaret, most likely to keep Army snipers from using it as a hide.