It dates back to the 12th century and is listed on UNESCO and ISESCO lists.. “Manar Jam” of Afghanistan is threatened with collapse

Kabul- Both the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) classify the Afghan “Manar Jam” as a world cultural heritage site, dating back to the 12th century AD, and it is assumed that it was attached to a mosque that was swept away by a sudden flood before the Mongol siege region in the 13th century AD.

According to the Department of Information and Culture in Ghor Province (western Afghanistan), “Manar Jam” is threatened with collapse as a result of an earthquake that struck the western provinces on January 17, and because of snow and rain.

“If UNESCO does not take serious steps to repair Minar Jam, we will witness the collapse of the tower, and this is a great disgrace to the world, and this is an archaeological landmark that everyone should try to save from collapse,” the director of the Department of Information and Culture in the state of Ghor Abdul Hai Zaim told Al Jazeera Net.

Neglecting a historical trace

Although it is considered a global and Islamic archaeological site, no work has been done to prevent it from collapsing, and Afghan writer and writer Hassan Hakimi tells Al Jazeera Net, “UNESCO allocated two million dollars to repair and restore the lighthouse, but the previous government failed to provide security and protection for foreign experts who agreed to start work in the state of Gur, and now the Taliban, UNESCO and international institutions that care about historical monuments must prevent the lighthouse from collapsing, and nothing has been done in the past 20 years to protect the lighthouse.”

The lighthouse in the site of “Manar Jam” is one of the oldest lighthouses built of bricks, plaster and glazed tiles in the world, and was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2002.

And “Manar Jam” is the first cultural heritage site in Afghanistan classified by ISESCO as an Islamic heritage in 2020, and it has the second tallest historical lighthouse in the world built of bricks after “Qutb Minar” in India, and the lighthouse dates back to the Ghurid era in the 12th century AD.

Afghan historian Habibullah Rafia tells Al Jazeera Net, “The lighthouse is located near the famous Harirud River in the state of Ghor, and it was built – 65 meters high – in 1190 AD during the reign of Sultan Ghiath al-Din Guri, and is famous for its intricate decorations of bricks, plaster and glazed tiles, and it has inscriptions in Kufic and Naskh scripts. geometric patterns and verses from the Qur’an.

The lighthouse was discovered in 1958 by French archaeologists, and since its discovery until the early seventies there were efforts to restore it always with the interest of previous governments, but after the Soviet invasion no effort was made to protect and restore it.

The minaret in “Manar Jam” is one of 60 minarets built between the 11th and 13th centuries AD in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Iran, as a symbol of the victory of the Islamic religion in these regions; Dozens of minarets and similar lighthouses were built in the area.

The lighthouse was built during the reign of the Ghurids, a Muslim dynasty (Afghan or Turkish) that ruled Afghanistan and northern India in the 12th century AD, and included Sindh, Punjab, Dehli and lands that are now part of India, Iran, Nepal, Myanmar and Central Asia.

Sultan Ghyath al-Din Muhammad ibn Sam was the ruler of the Ghurids from 1163 to 1202, and the country expanded during his reign from Gorgan (present-day northern Iran) to Bengal (east of the Indian subcontinent).


In 2012, UNESCO tried to develop a comprehensive plan for a three-dimensional survey of the lighthouse, and photographs of the external structure were taken to provide models for reconstruction, but the political and security instability and lack of funding was the main reason for not taking any steps to restore the lighthouse.

A source at the Afghan Ministry of Culture and Information told Al Jazeera Net that archaeologists analyzed satellite images and data from Google Maps to make new discoveries about the lighthouse and its surrounding site, but the political transition in Afghanistan hampered the restoration process, and UNESCO and the Taliban must speed up saving the rest of it.

Dr. Khushal Rohi, former advisor to the Minister of Information, told Al Jazeera Net, “Since 2002, Al-Manar has been on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and the rate of collapse was very high and we could not do anything, and the former Afghan government failed to preserve this global impact, and I think we are remiss in that.” “.

The lighthouse was engraved with Quranic verses and geometric drawings (Al-Jazeera)

The minaret consists of 8 sides, the sides of which together form a page containing inscriptions in the Arabic language, including kufic writing, Naskh, geometric patterns and ornaments, and Qur’anic verses.

On the lower side of the minaret there are long inscriptions, the text of which begins in a circular motion, and contains 976 words from “Surat Maryam”. Then the word martyrdom and the honorable verse (Victory from God and a close conquest), and on the last page he wrote in Kufic script, “The Great Sultan Ghiath al-Din Ghouri.”

Afghan archaeologist Amra Khan Masoudi told Al Jazeera Net, “With the passage of time and neglect, most of the written texts have been destroyed, to the extent that it is not possible to read some of the lines that were written in a beautiful style of Kufic script.”

Writer and writer Abdel Wahab Tokhi explains to Al-Jazeera Net that “the Arabic language entered Afghanistan in the seventh century AD, and the relationship of the Afghan people to culture and the Arabic language is very old. The Arabs did not care about this area and left it to others, and the construction of the beacon of this magnitude and several centuries ago is evidence of the strength of the Islamic conquest.” .

The historical site of “Manar Jam” is eroding due to the flow of water in the Harirud River, which is located near it, threatening the lighthouse, and the southern shore was actually affected by seasonal rains and the rising water level in the river. According to French archaeologists, “Manar Jam” tilts two degrees towards the river, which is located to the north.

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