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Minaret Of Jam

Afghanistan's UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Minaret Of Jam was declared Afghanistan's first UNESCO world Heritage Site in 2002. The mysterious Minaret Of Jam stands alone in the valley of the Hari Rud, up in the highlands of central Afghanistan, officially "discovered" in 1957 by French archaeologist Andre Maricq. Research at the site has been disadvantaged by the remote location of the minaret and recent troubled history of Afghanistan. Minarets are spires that are often associated with Muslim mosques, and it is from the top of a minaret that the muezzin calls the faithful to pray, and it is really for this reason that they are so high.

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It is not very difficult to find some mosques that have minarets that that are almost 700 feet (215m). On the other hand,you will be challenged to find extremely tall freestanding minarets in the world. Some degree of work during the 1960's and 1970's has really translated the elegant and complex Kufic script that adorns the whole of the monument. The construction of the minaret is of pale,baked mud brick,except a turquoise and lapis lazuli tile collar of text, two-thirds up it's 206-foot(64-m) height.

This collar is the key text of the sixty-third Surya(or verse) of the Koran known as the "Miriam Surya." This surya refers to the status of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and confirms the multi-ethnic nature of the Ghurid builders of the minaret. There has been debate over the date of the construction of the minaret, which is hampered by damage to the significant text of the monument. The Ghurid dynasty burst out of the mountainous heartlands of Afghanistan during the early twelfth century, and very quickly brought collectively a state that stretched from central Iran to the Bay of Bengal in India.

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The empire was short lived by the devastated incursions of the Mongols, and by 1221 the Ghurid state was a minor historical footnote. Recent archaeological work has established that like many contemporary towns in the Afghan mountains, an urban center could be found in the locality, spread out along the two local river valleys and up the steep slopes of the surrounding mountains. This spread of buildings was protected by an ancient system of towers and walls. Added confirmation was provided by the discovery of a Hebrew grave yard and the associated tombstones of Jewish merchants.

Getting there You will be pressed to find a public transport that will take you to the Minaret of Jam. The best possible option open to you will be to take transport between Chaghcheran and Herat and get off at Garmao, where you will find several locals who function as motorbike taxis to the minaret. It will take you about two hours. The road is little more than a track, and is the roughest on the central route.

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Vehicles are usually full when they arrive at the village,so onward transport options from Garmao can be challenging. HiAces frequently pass through en route to Chaghcheran which is about 400Afg, and will take you about five hours around dawn, or to Herat for 500Afg, one day staying overnight at Darya Takht in the afternoon. The route heading west with its villages and orchards is very enchanting.

If you decide to make the journey with your own vehicle,Minaret of Jam can be reached from Chaghcheran in about seven hours, or from Herat in about 15 hours. You will find two equally dramatic routes from Chaghcheran – the southerly major road via Garmao, or the northern road via Ghar-e Payon. The latter will bring you to the minaret from the opposite bank of the Jam Rud. You will not have access to a bridge and the river can only be forded by vehicles in the late summer. In the spring when the snow are melting, it can only be crossed by way of a zip wire – hold on to your hat!

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