After hours in a 4WD or on the back of a motorbike, one of the worlds most remote and dramatic statements of faith can come as something of a shock.
The Minaret of Jam rises like a sentinel, hidden deep in the valleys of central Afghanistan. Its 65m height is ornately decorated with patterns, script and arches.
The views from the top are utterly breathtaking as is the exhilarating climb to get here. Few have ever made it, and the tales of those that do add to the legend of the place.
Getting to The Minaret of Jam
The practical details may be daunting but behind every tough journey is an unforgettable sense of achievement. To get to the Minaret first requires a one-and-a-half-day journey from Kabul to Chaghcheran, pausing at the town of Bamiyan where the twin buddhas, destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, once stood.
The cost of getting to Afghanistan and arranging transport mean that a trip to the country is unlikely to be cheap even though eating and sleeping can cost peanuts.
Unfortunately Afghanistan is currently too unstable to visit, but this is an astonishing adventure to file away for another day. Visit the Foreign Office for the latest information.
One day, the Minaret of Jam is likely to be part of a fledgling tourist industry in one of the worlds most war-torn yet fascinating countries.
©2009 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd