The Leaning Minaret

The leaning tower of pisa is world famous and a much vaunted tourist spot. However since the opening of Afghanistan to the rest of the world, some surprising architectural discoveries are being made. Chief among them is this leaning minaret found in the valley of Jam near the city of Herat in Western Afghanistan.

It stands 65 meters high and is beautifully decorated and made up of baked bricks, amazingly well preserved even today. It was built as an architectural memorial to the Ghorid empire in the late 12th century. Ironically the lower portion of this minaret carries the entire 19th sura of the Koran and tells of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and of patriarchs such as Abraham and Isaac that are venerated by the three religions of The Book – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Perhaps those in the 12th century had more of a clue than we do today.