Ghazni Minarets

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Ghazni Minarets
Mas'ud III b. Ibrahim minaret, Ghazni, built between 1099 and 1115 CE (graphical reconstruction, colorized).jpg
Mas'ud III's minaret was at least 44 meters tall, before its cylindrical top half crumbled following an earthquake in 1902. It was built between 1099 and 1115 CE (photographic reconstruction).[1]
Ghazni is located in Afghanistan
Location in Afghanistan
Ghazni is located in West and Central Asia
Ghazni (West and Central Asia)
Alternative nameMas'ud III Minaret & Bahram Shah Minaret[2]
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

The 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.[3] The two minarets are 600 meters (1968 feet) apart and lie in an open plain, north-east of Ghazni city.[4]

The minarets had a height of 44 meters in the 19th century, before the top half of both minarets crumbled in an earthquake in 1902.[1] Now the minarets are about 20 meters high. Both minarets of Ghazni are 20 metres (66 feet)[5] 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.[3][5]

The ruins of the Palace of Sultan Mas'ud III are located near Mas'ud III's minaret.


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 (Manar-i Mas'ud III) and Bahram Shah Minaret (Manar-i Bahram Shah) after the ruler who built them, Mas'ud III (A.D. 1099-1115) and Bahram Shah (A.D. 1118-1157).[2] The excavated palace of Mas'ud III lies nearby to the towers.[4]

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.[3][5]


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.[5]

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.[5]


Mas'ud III Minaret[edit]

Mas'ud III's minaret is stylistically more complex, and uses a larger variety of decorative techniques, compared to the minaret of his son Bahram Shah.[1]

Bahram Shah Minaret[edit]

Minaret of Bahram-Shah
(before and after 1902)
Bahram Shah minaret in 1839, with cylindrical top half.
Remaining basis of Bahram Shah's minaret in Ghazni, in 2011.
The minaret, inspired by the minaret of his father Mas'ud III, used to be more than 44 meters tall until the top half crumbled following an earthquake in 1902.[1]

Bahram Shah's minaret was inspired by the minaret of his father, and built a few decades later (he ruled between 1117 to 1152), but is stylistically simpler.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ralph Pinder-Wilson (2001) Ghaznavid and Ghūrid Minarets, Iran, 39:1, 155-186, DOI: 10.1080/05786967.2001.11834389
  2. ^ a b "072. Ghazni: Bahram Shah Minaret". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c C.E. Bosworth, The Later Ghaznavids, (Columbia University Press, 1977), 115.
  4. ^ a b "Ghazni Towers Documentation Project: History". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Ghazni Minarets". World Monuments Fund. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Manar-i Mas'ud III". Archnet.