Ghazni Minarets

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Ghazni Minarets
One of the Ghazni Minarets as seen in 2001.
Ghazni is located in Afghanistan
Location in Afghanistan
Alternative nameMas'ud III Minaret & Bahram Shah Minaret[1]
LocationGhazni, Afghanistan
RegionGhazni Province
Coordinates33°33′52.4″N 68°26′01.8″E / 33.564556°N 68.433833°E / 33.564556; 68.433833Coordinates: 33°33′52.4″N 68°26′01.8″E / 33.564556°N 68.433833°E / 33.564556; 68.433833
Height20 m (66 ft)
BuilderMasud III, Bahram-Shah of Ghazna
Founded12th Century
Site notes

Ghazni Minarets are two elaborately decorated minaret towers located in Ghazni city, central Afghanistan. They were built in middle of the twelfth century and are the only surviving elements of the mosque of Bahram Shah.[2] The two minarets are 600 meters (1968 feet) apart and lie in an open plain, north-east of Ghazni city.[3]

Both minarets of Ghazni are 20 metres (66 feet)[4] tall and built of fired mud brick. The surface of the towers are decorated beautifully with intricate geometric patterns and Qurunic verses on elaborate terracotta tiles. In the 1960s, both towers were fitted with sheet metal roofs in a limited preservation effort.[2][4]


The 12th century minarets are the most famous monuments of Ghazni city and are among the last surviving remnants of the great Ghaznavid Empire. The two minarets are called, Mas'ud III Minaret and Bahram Shah Minaret after the ruler who built them, Mas'ud III (A.D. 1099-1115) and Bahram Shah (A.D. 1118-1157).[1] The excavated palace of Mas'ud III lies nearby to the towers.[3]

An 1839 painting shows the cylindrical upper sections of the minarets before their destruction in 1902 earthquake.

The minarets were taller before the upper sections were damaged and destroyed over time. Part of the Masud III minaret top was destroyed in an earthquake in 1902.[2][4]


Ghazni Minarets are not well preserved or protected. Both towers are in danger from natural elements and the political instability in Afghanistan. There are no basic security measures in place to prevent vandalism and the towers are in need of new roofing to prevent water infiltration into the towers.[4]

The towers' facade contains intricate geometric patterns and Quranic inscriptions which are deteriorating rapidly with exposure to rain and snow. They are further affected by the nearby road and the area is subject to periodic flooding.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "072. Ghazni: Bahram Shah Minaret". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c C.E. Bosworth, The Later Ghaznavids, (Columbia University Press, 1977), 115.
  3. ^ a b "Ghazni Towers Documentation Project: History". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Ghazni Minarets". World Monuments Fund. Retrieved 19 September 2018.