Last week we listened to Dan Cruickshank give a talk on his lifetime of travel in search of extraordinary architecture. Dan has been privileged to explore buildings all over the world in the environment that they were designed for and his passion for his work made it a fascinating evening.
At the end of the talk he described a perilous trip into the mountains of Afghanistan to visit the Minaret of Jam. I was captivated by his description of heat and dust, river crossings, encounters with bandits, and finally arriving at the remote valley hardly knowing what to expect. The tower is an architectural masterpiece, the second tallest brick built tower in the world and is covered with intricate decorations and inscriptions. Inside the minaret there is a double helical staircase coiling up the walls to a spectacular view of the mountain pass.
We are fortunate to live in an age when exploration can be shared through high quality images and video but only a gifted communicator such as Dan can enable an audience to experience the thrill of turning into a mountain valley to see that extraordinary, fragile tower which has survived against all the odds since 1190.