of Jam, one of the World Heritage Sites in Afghanistan, talks with the sky
in a remote valley encircled by barren mountains. Constructed in the 12th
century, it is only undamaged monument from the Ghorid period. Soaring to
the height of 65 metres, it is the second tallest minaret in the world.
Setting of the Minaret enhances its impact.
The minaret presents extraordinary craftsmanship and superb artistic
detail. It is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture
in the region.
Coming Into Being
Minaret of Jam harks back to the Ghorid Sultanate (AD 1146-1215). Sultan
Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad (AD 1163-1203) decided to build the minaret around
1194 on the bank of Harirud River.
Minaret of Jam is made of baked bricks with a blue tile inscription at the
top. Intricate brickwork arranged in geometric and floral designs. Both the
architecture and bedeckment of the structure is noteworthy. The Minaret is
accessible through a set of double spiral stairs that run from the octagonal
base to the circular top. It is accented with turquoise ceremics. Kufic
callicgraphy etched in stucco makes the tower more impressive. At the top of
the minaret is big lantern. Several balconies have bben made along the
Purpose of Construction
Objective behind the construction of the tower is not yet clear. Some
regard it as Victory Tower, while some think that it would have been part of
any other grand design. Archaeological remains of a fortress, palace, wall
and market have been found near the market. Archaeologists are trying to
find out if the tower has any relation to these discoveries.
Indifferent attitude of the locals is perhaps the biggest threat for the
Minaret. Mostly illiterate Afghans haven't learned to consider the
historical structures as prized national assets. Its location on the bank of
a river also makes it victim of water damage. Over the years the tower has
suffered from illegal excavations and looting.