Manar-i Dawlatabad
Zadiyan, Afghanistan
The minaret of Dawlatabad is located in the fields surrounding the village of Zadiyan, to the north of Balkh. Dawlatabad itself, a larger town, is approximately 14 kilometers to the southwest of the minaret. Three inscriptions date the tower to 1108-1109/502 AH, identify its patron as the Seljuk vizier Mu'tamid al-Dawla Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Ali, and one of the artisans as an 'Uthman ibn Abi Bakr ibn Abi al-Qasim.

The minaret is cylindrical in form and is only preserved in part: the uppermost portion having collapsed. A door in the base provides access to a stairwell that would have led to the roof. The remaining portion of the minaret features intricate decoration made of baked brick and carved stucco. The main body is made of courses of baked bricks laid in alternation and embedded in plaster that has been carved with knot designs in the spaces between bricks. At the top, a wide inscription band features Kufic script with tall hastae terminating in foliate designs. Below this, and separating it from the field of plain courses of bricks, is a knotwork design. 

About half way down the shaft of the minaret is another elaborately decorated area consisting of three wide bands and four thinner bands of ornament. From top to bottom: a thin band of alternating palmette motifs connected by a vine scroll; a wide band of interlocking octagons made of bricks forming eight-point star medallions with naskhi inscriptions in the centers; a thin band of interlace; a wide band with a naskhi inscription set against foliation; a thin band of interlace; a wide band filled with a star-polygon pattern; and a thin band of hexagonal astragal.

The inscription mentions that Mu'tamid al-Dawla ordered the minaret's construction (amara bi-bina' hadha al-minar) and that he made it for or on behalf of an 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Abd al-Rahim. 


Ball, Warwick. Archaeological Gazetteer of Afghanistan. Revised Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Sourdel-Thomine, Janine. "Deux minarets d’époque seljoukide en Afghanistan." Syria 30, 1-2 (1953): 108-136.

Zadiyan, Afghanistan
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Associated Names
1108-1109/502 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
منار دولت آباد
Manar-e Dawlatabad
Alternate transliteration
Building Usages