Art & Culture

Work begins to restore ancient minaret in Herat city

Work has started on strengthening one of the five ancient minarets in the city of Herat, which is on the verge of collapse for the last two years as cultural activists described.

The minaret is one of the five remaining minarets of the former Musallah complex in the city of Herat. Each of the minarets is 55 meters tall. Initially, the minaret had 20 minarets built by Queen Gawhar Shad in 1417.

The minaret is located near a wedding hall and an ancient mosque.

The project is funded by Aga Khan Foundation and is implemented by the provincial directorate of information and culture.

Zalmai Safa, an official of the information and culture directorate, said that many cultural activists in the province warned of the collapse of the minaret before they start its restoration and maintenance.

The official did not provide details on the exact figure of the budget but said that at least $100,000 was allocated to the restoration of the minaret during the previous government.

But this time, the official said, the Aga Khan Foundation is funding the project.

Herat residents welcomed the move and said ancient and historic sites need more attention from relevant institutions as they are the country’s identity.

“The minaret was made during the Timurids era. There were other ancient sites besides it but were destroyed due to inattention,” said Jawed Zargham, a cultural activist.

He said the minaret is 850 years old and can be a good place for tourists if it is restored and strengthened.

“The idea is to build this minaret from its basement and restore the ancient arts in it,” said Sediq Shafiq, a civil engineer.