Surrounded by arid landscapes and desolate mountains, the majestic tower sits in a rugged, inaccessible valley along the confluence of Hari Rud and Jam Rud River. The rivers glide past it at 1900 m above sea level, around the ancient city of Firuzkuh, once considered the summer capital of the Ghurid dynasty. As you explore the outskirts of the Jam arena, few remnants of the lost city of Firuzkuh can be found. Firuzkuh has been called the wonder of the age and one of the greatest cities ever built. It was once a large summer capital built amidst these jagged mountains. “Firozkoh” translates from the Persian to mean “turquoise mountain” and therefore the city is sometimes referred to as the Lost city of Turqoise Mountain, The great metropolis once flourished as a center for the Ghurid culture, wealth and power for almost a century, before it was destroyed.
The single, solitary tower of Jam may be all that remains of Firuzkuh.The area surrounding the Minaret was under the grip of semi-nomadic Ghurids who proclaimed the power and dominance of Islam 800 years back. A mysterious discovery in the area was a small 12th-century Jewish cemetery about 2 miles away from the minaret’s base. This led to a theory that it was a pre-Muslim holy site and that the tower had been built to mark the arrival of Islam in this most lonely and sacred spot. The hebrew inscriptions on large stones near the minaret, thought to have been grave markers for the Jewish cemetery suggest Muslims and Jewish people lived together at least somewhat peacefully. There still remains the remnants of an Islamic palace, few fortifications, the Jewish cemetery, a pottery kiln and the curious “robber holes”. The entire premise makes up for around 19.5 hectares, marking the historical destruction of Firuzkuh by the invading Mongols in 1222. When the Mongols came, the residents of of the city were either killed or forced to abandon their home. It is still a mystery why the Mongols left the Minaret of Jam intact. Some of the scholars who studied the region hypothesize that the mongol leader Ghengis Khan spared it due to its value as a watchtower.
3 thoughts on “The Minaret of Jam: The forgotten ancient monument of Afghanistan that inspired the Qutub Minar of India”
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