Monday, May 26, 2014

The Minaret of Jam, Afghanistan

The Minaret of Jam is located in Afghanistan’s Shahrak district on the banks of Hari river at a place where it meets river Jam around 215 km east of Herat. The magnificent 12th century minaret, rising 65 meters above the surrounding rugged valley is the only surviving monument from the Ghurid empire that ruled Afghanistan and parts of northern India, from Kashgar to the Persian Gulf, in the 12th and 13th centuries. The minaret was built in 1194 by the great Ghurid Sultan Ghiyas ud-Din (1153-1203), and its location probably marks the site of the ancient city of Firuzkuh, where the summer residence of the Ghurid emperors were located.

The minaret consist of four tapering cylindrical shafts stacked on top of each other, rising from an octagonal base and constructed of fired brick bonded with lime mortar. The exterior of the minaret is completely covered with geometric decoration in relief enhanced with a Kufic inscription in turquoise tiles. Surrounding the minaret are a group of stones with Hebrew inscriptions from the 11th to 12th centuries on the Kushkak hill, and remains of castles and towers of the Ghurid settlements on the banks of the Hari River.

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