Minaret of Jam is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Afghanistan, situated in a remote valley which is surrounded by mountains. It was constructed in the 12th century and today it is the only undamaged monument from the Ghorid period. With a height of 65 meters, it is the second minaret from the world, and it’s placing enhances its impact. This minaret is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture from this region with its wonderful craftsmanship and beautiful artistic details.
Coming Into Being
The Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad (AD 1163-1203) from the Ghorid Sultanate (AD 1146-1215), decided to build this minaret in 1194 on the bank of the Harirud River.
The minaret is built from baked bricks that have a blue tile inscription at the top. These bricks are arranged in geometric and floral designs. Access is made through a set of double spiral stairs which start from the octagonal base to the circular top where there is a lantern. The Kufic calligraphy, turquoise ceramics and the two wooden balconies make the tower more impressive.
Purpose of Construction
It isn’t known why the tower was built. Some say that it may be a Victory Tower, and some think that it could’ve been part of another grand design. Archeologists found remains of a fortress, palace, wall and market, and they are trying to find if they are related.
The locals don’t know how to appreciate this impressive construction, and because the minaret is situated on the bank of a river, it suffers from water damage, but also from illegal excavations and looting.