Media has recently reported that one of the five minarets, each 55 meters tall, in downtown Herat city, is on the verge of destruction while others have a ruined image. The minaret has been protected by steel cables for the past two decades but the cables have now lost their strength to protect the minaret. In the meantime, media reported that the Minaret of Jam is in imminent danger of collapse.
In connection with the issue, deputy minister of art and culture for ministry information and culture Prof. Mohammad Rasoul Bawary in an interview with The Kabul Times correspondent said: “Unfortunately, for the first time in 1998, it was found out that Minaret of Jam has been leaning. During 2006 – 2008, a team was dispatched by UNESCO and MoIC to review the inclination of the minaret. Meanwhile, once again a joint team was dispatched in 2014 and later in 2016 by UNESCO and MoIC to visit the minaret. After visiting and reviewing the inclination of the minaret by the joint team, fortunately it was not in danger of collapse.”
In connection with the Musalla Minarets of Herat, deputy minister of art and information said that the minaret has been protected by steel cables for the past two decades, but the cables have now lost their strength to protect the minaret, adding that the ministry of information and culture has appointed a team that has visited the minarets. He said that efforts were underway to fundamentally renovate the minarets of Herat with close cooperation of UNESCO.
Meanwhile, head of the country’s preservation of historic monuments Abdul Ahad Abasi by pointing to Minaret of Jam and Musalla Minarets of Herat said the ministry of information and culture with close cooperation of UNESCO has taken necessary steps towards preservation of the country’s historic monuments.
It is worth mentioning that the Minaret of Jam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in western Afghanistan. It is located in a remote and nearly inaccessible region of the Shahrak district of Ghor province, next to the Hari River. The 65-meter high minaret was built around 1190 entirely of baked bricks and is famous for its intricate brick, stucco and glazed tile decoration, which consists of alternating bands of kufic and naskhi calligraphy, geometric patterns, and verses from the Qur’an.
Since 2002, the minaret has remained on the list of World Heritage in Danger, under serious threat of erosion, and has not been actively preserved.
Also, Musalla Minarets of Herat, which are five huge ruined minaret towers in Herat city, are each 55 meters tall and resemble crooked chimneys of an old factory. The minarets of Herat are the remains of 20 minarets of the former Musalla complex. The minarets and the complex were built by Queen Gawhar Shad in 1417.
The Musallah Complex with 20 minarets was fully intact and magnificent until 1885 when the complex was destroyed by the British in a conflict with Russia. 9 towers were spared the destruction of 1885, but neglect and earthquakes claimed four more towers. The complex became an architectural masterpiece of the Islamic world. It was a huge spread of magnificent Islamic religious buildings consisting of a large mosque, Madrassa religious school and mausoleum buildings. The whole complex included 20 minarets which were adorned with tiled surfaces of beautiful intricate patterns and designs. An earthquake in 1931 destroyed two more minarets. Another minaret fell for another earthquake in 1951. The five ruined Musalla Minarets of Herat and 2 mausoleums are the only remnants today of a once magnificent architectural complex.