Musalla Complex

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Musalla complex
Herat Remains of Musallah complex.jpg
Remains of Musalla Complex seen on 2005.
Herat is located in Afghanistan
Location in Afghanistan
Alternative nameMusallah complex, Gauhar Shad Musallah
LocationHerat, Afghanistan
RegionHerat Province
CoordinatesCoordinates: 34°21′33″N 62°11′10″E / 34.359284°N 62.18608°E / 34.359284; 62.18608
TypeIslamic religious complex
Height55 m (180 ft) minarets
BuilderQueen Goharshad of Timurid Empire of Herāt.
Events1885 destruction by British.
Site notes
Public accessYes
Architectural stylesTimurid
Architectural detailsTimurid Mosque, Shah Rukh madressa, mausoleums, 20 minarets,

Musalla complex (also called Musallah Complex, Musalla of Gawhar Shad) is a large former Islamic religious complex located in Herat city in western Afghanistan. The 15th century complex is in ruins today. The complex ruins consist of the five huge 55 metre (180 feet) Musallah Minarets of Herat, mausoleums of Mir Ali Sher Navai, Hussein Baiqara and the ruins of a large mosque and Islamic madrasa school buildings. The complex was begun in 1417 by Queen Goharshad Begum, the wife of Timurid ruler Shah Rukh who established Herat as the capital of the Timurid Empire.[1]


It is thought that a madrasa was built in 1417 and a mosque was then built in 1426.[2] Sultan Husain's Madrasa was most likely built around 1493 (898 A.H.). The site contains examples of Timurid architecture although it has been heavily damaged, first by artillery fire in 1863, then during the Panjdeh incident of 1885 when most of the ruins were razed in an attempt to prevent its use as a base by the invading Russian army. Finally, an earthquake in 1932 destroyed two of the mosque's four minarets.[3]

The site rose to the attention of Europeans when it was visited and photographed in the 1930s by the travel writers Robert Byron and Annemarie Schwarzenbach. Byron's book, The Road to Oxiana mentions the minarets and discusses Timurid history.


Some emergency preservation work was carried out at the site in 2001 which included building protective walls around the Gawhar Shad Mausoleum and Sultan Husain Madrasa, repairing the remaining minaret of Gawhar Shad's Madrasa, and replanting the mausoleum garden.[4][5][6][7][8]


See Also[edit]