Musalla Minarets of Herat

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Musalla Minarets of Herat
Herat Remains of Musallah complex.jpg
Three of the Herat Minarets as seen on 2005.
Herat is located in Afghanistan
Location in Afghanistan
Alternative nameMusallah Minarets, Herat Minarets, Herat Monuments
LocationHerat, Afghanistan
RegionHerat Province
CoordinatesCoordinates: 34°21′33″N 62°11′10″E / 34.359284°N 62.18608°E / 34.359284; 62.18608
Part ofMusalla Complex
Height55 m (180 ft)
BuilderQueen Goharshad of Timurid Empire of Herāt.
Events1885, Destruction of Musalla Complex.
Site notes
Condition5 Ruined towers, Endangered
Public accessYes

The Musalla Minarets of Herat[1][2] (Monuments Of Herat[3]) are five huge ruined minaret towers in Herat city, western Afghanistan.[4] The minarets and the complex were built by Queen Gawhar Shad in 1417.[3]


The minarets are each 55 meters tall and resemble crooked chimneys of an old factory.[3] The minarets of Herat are the remains of 20 minarets of the former Musalla complex.

The Musallah Complex with 20 minarets was fully intact and magnificent until 1885 when the complex was wilfully destroyed by the British during a conflict with Russia.[4][5] The British used dynamite to reduce the complex to ruin, and this vandalism was justified by them as being necessary to prevent the Russians from sheltering in the complex.

Nine towers survived the destruction of 1885, but the battering had weakened them structurally, and they remained neglected over the next few years due to an unsettled political situation. No repairs or restorations were undertaken, and over time, four more towers collapsed due to structural weaknesses, earthquake and sheer decrepitude.[3] Only five of the original twenty minarets survive today.


Musalla Minarets of Herat were built for the Musalla complex by Queen Gawhar Shad in 1417.[3] The complex became an architectural masterpiece of the Islamic world. It was a huge spread of magnificent Islamic religious buildings consisting of a large mosque, Madrassa religious school and mausoleum buildings. The whole complex included 20 minarets which were adorned with tiled surfaces of beautiful intricate patterns and designs.[4][3]

In 1885, the British were in Afghanistan engaged in a conflict against Russia for the control of the borders. During the conflict, British engineers dynamited the Musalla complex to prevent it from serving as cover for Russians.[4][5] Nine minarets and two mausoleums were spared destruction. However, an earthquake in 1931 destroyed two more minarets. Another minaret fell in another earthquake in 1951.[3] The five ruined Musalla Minarets of Herat and 2 mausoleums are the only remnants today of a once magnificent architectural complex.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Historical Minarets of Herat". Alalam News Network. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Afghanistan: Race To Preserve Historic Minarets Of Herat, Jam". Archived from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Monuments Of Herat, Afghanistan's Ancient Cultural Capital, In Danger Of Destruction". Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e "7 must-see minarets in Central Asia". Archived from the original on 19 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b "The sad story of the Musalla Complex: art crime and destruction". Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.