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World's Most Endangered Sites

Afghanistan: Minaret of Jam

Rising above a deep river valley in Afghanistan’s Ghur province, this 213-foot, 12th-century minaret is covered in elaborate brickwork and geometric relief patterns and topped with shimmering blue tile inscribed in kufic. Remarkable for its innovative structural engineering and artistic flourishes—plus its influence on subsequent Islamic architecture—the minaret is thought to mark the site of the ancient imperial city of Firuzkuh. The remains of castles and towers, as well as stones with Hebrew inscriptions, have been found nearby. No reconstruction or major restoration work has been done in 800 years, but the minaret still stands. —Sandra Ramani

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