Jam Tower and Archaeological Site – World Cultural Heritage in Afghanistan

The 65-meter-tall Minaret of Jam is a graceful, soaring structure that dates back to the 12th century. Covered by exquisite brickwork with green brick inscriptions at the top, it is worth it. noted for its architectural and decorative qualities, representing the pinnacle of architectural and artistic traditions in this region. Its impact is enhanced by its dramatic backdrop, a deep river valley among towering mountains in the heart of Ghur province.

Accreditation year: 2002
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Area: 70 hectares
Buffer zone: 600 ha
Shahrak district, Ghur province
World Heritage in Danger

Outstanding global value

At 1,900 meters above sea level and far from any town, Jam Tower rises in a rugged valley along the Hari-rud River at its junction with the Jam River about 215 kilometers east of Herat. . Up to 65m high from an octagonal base with a diameter of 9m, the four overlapping oblong cylinders are built from baked bricks. The tower is completely covered with relief geometric decoration enhanced by the Kufic inscription in turquoise brick. Built in 1194 by the great Ghurid Sultan Ghiyas-od-din (1153-1203), its location likely marks the site of the ancient city of Firuzkuh, believed to have been the summer capital of the Ghurid dynasty. The surrounding ruins include a group of stones with Hebrew inscriptions from the 11th to 12th centuries on the Kushkak hill,

The Minaret of Jam is one of the few well-preserved monuments representing the exceptional artistic creativity and masterful structural engineering of the time. Its architecture and decoration stand out from the point of view of art history, incorporating elements from earlier developments in the area in a distinctive way and exerting a strong influence on later architecture. in the area. This graceful soaring structure is an outstanding example of the architecture and decoration of the Islamic period in Central Asia and played an important role in their further dissemination as far as India. illustrated by Qutb Minar, Delhi, started in 1202 and completed in the early 19th century. 14th century.

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Criterion (ii): Jam Tower’s innovative architecture and decoration has played an important role in the artistic and architectural development of the Indian subcontinent and beyond.

Criterion (iii): The Jam Tower and related archaeological remains constitute exceptional evidence of the strength and quality of the Ghurid civilization that dominated the area during the 12th and 13th centuries.

Criterion (iv): The Jam Tower is an outstanding example of Islamic architecture and decoration in the region and played an important role in its further dissemination.


Since the construction of Minaret about 800 years ago, no major rebuilding or restoration work has taken place in the area. Archaeological remains were surveyed and documented in 1957 when the remains were first discovered by archaeologists. Subsequent surveys and research only resulted in simple preventative stabilization measures for Minaret’s background. As a result, the site’s properties of Outstanding Universal Value, especially the Tower itself, other architectural forms and their context in the landscape, remain intact within the boundaries of the heritage site. and more.


The authenticity of the Minaret of Jam and its surrounding remains has never been questioned. The Minaret has always been recognized by experts as an authentic architectural and decorative masterpiece and a work of chef art by cosmetologists. Its massive Kufic inscriptions testify to the distant and glorious origins of its builders as well as provide evidence of its original date (1194). No extensive rebuilding or restoration work has ever taken place in the area.

Protection and management requirements

Legal and institutional framework for effective management of Minaret and archaeological sites (70 ha with 600 ha buffer zone), regulated by the Department of Historic Sites on behalf of the Ministry of Information and Culture of the Islamic Republic Afghanistan. The specific law protecting monuments and landscapes is the Law on Protection of Historic and Cultural Sites (Ministry of Justice, May 21, 2004) which entered into force and provided the basis for financial and technical resources.

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The site will be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger when the desired conservation status is achieved in accordance with Decision 31 COM 7A.20. This includes strengthening the capacity of the staff of the Afghan Ministry of Culture and Information who are responsible for the preservation of the property; correctly identify World Heritage properties and clearly marked boundaries and buffer zones; ensure the long-term stability and conservation of the tower; regional security, and a comprehensive management system that includes the development and implementation of a long-term conservation policy.

Proposals to protect Minaret and surrounding areas are under scientific discussion. They will seek to track the erosion of the riverbanks adjacent to the Minaret, any further movement in the monument’s degree of inclination along with any deterioration in the overall historical texture, and minimize any adverse observations with appropriate stabilization programs and conservation measures. necessary. Measures to protect and monitor the broader archaeological site are currently under review, and an approved public awareness and research program is likely to follow in the long run.

Map of Jam . Towers and Archaeological Sites

Video about Jam . Tower and Archaeological Site

See also: UNESCO World Cultural/Natural Heritage Sites

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