An ancient minaret in the city of Herat is on the verge of destruction as less attention has been paid to its maintenance, local officials and residents said on Friday.
The minaret is one of the five remaining minarets of former Musallah complex, each of them 55 meters tall. The complex initially had 20 minarets built by Queen Gawhar Shad in 1417.
The minaret, which is on the verge of destruction, is located near a wedding hall and an ancient mosque. Officials said it will destroy the two places if it falls.
The complex was fully intact and magnificent until 1885 when it was destroyed by the British in a conflict with Russia. Nine towers were spared from the destruction of 1885, but neglect and earthquakes claimed four more towers.
The collapse of the minaret will cause damages to the people, officials predict, saying that the issue needs attention by relevant departments.
“We have installed some sensors on the minaret to show the damage inflicted on it by wind and nature, but this is not enough,” said Jawed Zargham, the head of the culture department of Information and Culture Directorate of Herat.
The damaged minaret is protected by steel cables for the past many years, but the cables have lost their strength to protect the minaret, according to officials.
“The damage to the minaret is increasing. It needs to be addressed to prevent the identity of Herat from vanishing,” said Ghulam Mahboob, a Herat resident.
“We will lose the minaret if we continue inattention to it,” said Mubin Saqib, a Herat resident.
A cultural activist, Wali Shah Bahr, said lack of attention by the Ministry of Information and Culture has resulted in damage to the five minarets in the complex.
“Today’s situation of the Musallah complex is as worse as it cannot be compared to the glory it had in the past,” he said.