Built by the daughter-in-law of the emperor Timur (also known Timur the Lame by the Persians) in the fifteenth century, twelve of these proud minarets stood over the Afghan city of Herat only a hundred years or so ago. But war and neglect have left only five erect, largely stripped of their glittering blue tiles. And these five are in danger of being rattled to death by road traffic. UNESCO is interested in the project as a World Heritage site, but say that people of Afghanistan must demonstrate willingness to preserve the towers themselves, which likely means building a bypass around the ancient towers.

Cars, not war, may finally topple Afghan minarets [Reuters]

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