One of the five minarets, each 55 meters tall, in downtown Herat city, is on the verge of destruction while others have a ruined image due to “inattention” by relevant departments, local officials said.
The minaret is protected by steel cables for the past two decades but the cables have lost their strength to protect the minaret.
The minarets known as Musalla Minarets of Herat are the remains of 20 minarets of the former Musalla complex. The minarets and the complex were built by Queen Gawhar Shad in 1417.
The Musalla complex with 20 minarets was fully intact and magnificent until 1885 when the complex 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.
Officials from provincial directorate of information and culture said on Sunday that the minarets were not safe from the consequences of the past four decades of war in the country.
“The minarets are becoming vulnerable day-by-day. The cables have lost the ability to protect the minarets. According to our estimation, the minaret, which is on the verge of destruction, weights more than 80 tons and cables cannot keep it from collapse,” said Jawed Zargham, Deputy Head of Herat’s Information and Culture Directorate.
Amina Karimiyan, a civil engineer from Herat, said there is a need for construction of a tower near the minarets to protect them from destruction.
She said the minarets cannot be protected by steel cables.
Jailani Farhad, spokesman for Herat governor, said they have sought the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) help to protect the minarets.
“Some measures have been taken for protection of the fifth minaret but there is a need for international experts’ help in this respect,” he said. “Some activities have been done with the help of the UNESCO but the protection of the minarets require concrete measures.”
The minaret, which is on the verge of destruction, is located near a wedding hall and an antient mosque. Officials said it will destroy the two places if it falls.