Afghanistan: The Twelfth Century

Minaret of Mas`ud III, Ghazni (12th c.)

Minaret of Jam (12th c.)

The Minaret of Jam is the second tallest brick tower in the world after the Qutub Minar in New Delhi… Located east of Herat, the minaret stands on the site of what may be the capital of the Ghorid Dynasty, which ruled Afghanistan from 1148 to 1214. The site also includes the ruins of a palace, fortifications, and a Jewish cemetery.

UNESCO (2002)

At the peak of their florescence (in the 12th century), the Ghurid dynasty controlled a swathe of territory from Nishapur in eastern Iran to the Bay of Bengal in India.

David Thomas and Alison Gascoigne, Minaret of Jam Archaeological Project (2007).

Despite the civil unrest of 1199, Juzjani paints a picture of a vibrant, sophisticated urban life at (Ghurid capital) Firuzkuh in its heyday, with court patronage of poets, respect for religious law and theological debates, and the distribution of largesse at festivals and banquets.

David Thomas, “Firuzkuh: The Summer Capital of the Ghurids,” in Amira K. Bennison and Alison Gascoigne, eds., Cities in the Premodern Islamic World (2007)

The twelfth-century minaret at Jam in central Afghanistan (roughly midway between Herat and Kabul) is one of the most spectacular medieval monuments in the Islamic world.

Finbarr Barry Flood, “Islamic Identities and Islamic Art: Inscribing the Qur’an in Twelfth-century Afghanistan,” in Dialogues in Art History, from Mesopotamian to Modern: Readings for a New Century, ed. Elizabeth Cropper (2009)

We are not in Afghanistan for the sake of the education policy in a broken 13th-century country.

Liam Fox, The Times (21 May, 2010)

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