The 65m-tall Minaret of Jam, marks probably the site of the ancient city of Firuzkuh (later destroyed by the Mongol Ogodï in 1222), which was the capital of the Ghurid dynasty which ruled Afghanistan as well as from Kashgar to the Persian Gulf, and parts of northern Indian. Sultan Ghiyas ud-Din is named as the current Ghurid emperor at the time of construction by the inscription, which also gives a construction date of 1194.

The Minaret of Jam is sometimes called the ‘Victory Tower’, as it is probable that it was constructed to commemorate his 1192 victory at Deihi over the Empire of Ghaznavid. The site is also thought to have once been the summer residence of the Ghurid Emperors. The Minaret is significant for its decoration and architecture, representing the culmination of an architectural and artistic tradition in this region, and is covered in blue, incredibly elaborate brickwork and inscriptions (photo 2). A marvel from an art historical perspective, the Minaret of Jam represents the incredible artistic creativity and mastery of structural engineering of the time, and remains one of the very few so well preserved.

Sections from the inscriptions:

The uppermost band consists of the Muslim confession of faith; “I bear witness there is no god but Allah (and that) Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Below this, are upper two bands that consists of verse 13, surat al-Saff LXI;”Help from Allah and present victory. Give good tidings (O Muhammad) to believers. O ye who believe.”

An inscription, “Abu’l-Fath”, heavily damaged, due to being made of stucco.

Facing north is a Kufic inscription, “On the date of the year five hundred ninety" (equivalent of 27 December 1193 to 16 December 1194).

Reference: Ghaznavid and Ghūrid Minarets, Ralph Pinder-Wilson, Iran, pg168-169.

Photos courtesy & taken by James Gordon. When writing this post UNESCO was of great use.

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