Because of years of war and destruction, the first image of Afghanistan that many of us have in our minds is poverty and the ugly face of the wounds of war.
But Afghanistan, with its ancient history and rich natural resources, is one of the most valuable regions on earth. It is the junction of South Asia, East and West Asia, and is located on the Silk Road.
Afghanistan’s position on the Silk Road is a sign of the presence of urban civilization and the remarkable antiquity of human settlement in this region.
From the pages of history, it can be seen that Afghanistan has been politically and militarily important and inflamed from the past to the present.
But regardless of the bitterness of war and politics, the country has some fascinating natural, historical and cultural beauties. Join us in this article to visit the sights of Afghanistan and see this country from another perspective.
Knowledge before traveling to the sights of Afghanistan
Before traveling to the sights of Afghanistan and sightseeing in the streets of Kabul, it is better to get acquainted with its geographical location on the map. Afghanistan is one of the largest countries in the world with a population of 36 million, located along the eastern borders of Iran.
In fact, the entire eastern and southern parts of Afghanistan are adjacent to Pakistan. It also has the lowest border with China, which forms part of Afghanistan’s northeastern border.
The political capital of Afghanistan is Kabul. Many historical and ancient areas of Afghanistan are located in this city. This metropolis has a high population growth due to the migration of people from other cities of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Babur Garden is the country’s most famous tourist attraction
“Babur Garden” is one of the main sights of Afghanistan, which, leaving behind the turbulent history of this country, is today the first choice in Kabul for historical adventure as well as entertainment and sightseeing. This garden has an area of about 11 hectares and is located on the slopes of the “Lion Gate” mountain.
The stepped design of this garden along the slope of the mountain is extremely beautiful and gives you a spectacular view of Kabul. This garden is one of the places where you can see the beautiful eastern face of Afghanistan, regardless of the darkness of its history.
Babar Garden was built by order of “Sultan Gurkhani Zahir al-Dawla Muhammad Babar”, a descendant of “Timur Lang”. This king was the founder of the Gurkhanid dynasty in India. His fascination with this garden led him to make a will to be buried in this place. His body was transferred to Babur Garden many years after his death, and a building was erected as his eternal tomb in the garden.
The similarity of the construction of Babar Garden to Iranian and Indian gardens is undeniable. In the design of this garden, traces of Kashan Fin Garden , historical gardens of Kerman and also the garden gardens of Shiraz can be felt.
Babur Garden – one of the sights of Afghanistan
The construction of Babur Garden was completed over time, but speculation suggests that construction probably began in 1528. The style of Islamic architecture is evident in the garden buildings and the beauty and glory of this building is unique in the sights of Afghanistan. As we said, this garden is located at the foot of Shir Darvazeh Mountain, and to go to it, you have to enter the garden freeway and finally Bagh Street.
Artistic and historical buildings in Babur Garden
Babur Garden Caravanserai – one of the sights of Afghanistan
Inside Babur Garden, many of Afghanistan’s historical attractions are located. The first historical building that we encounter as soon as we enter the garden is the old building of the caravanserai. Today, the rooms of this building are used for the city administrative centers and the sale and display of Afghan handicrafts.
Tomb of King Babar- One of the sights of Afghanistan
Another admirable building in this garden is the roofless tomb of King Babar. This building is made of white stones decorated with artistic carvings. The latticed windows of this tomb are a manifestation of the architectural art of this region. Due to King Babur’s fascination with the garden, this white tomb was built years after his death and the transfer of his body from India to Afghanistan, and is now one of the most important and beautiful structures in Kabul.
Shah Mosque – one of the sights of Afghanistan
Another spectacular building in Kabul’s Babur Garden is the Shah Jahan Mosque, which is adorned with unique stone carving art. This work was created by order of “Shah Jahan” in Babur. Afghan stone carving artists have given a special look to this building.
The Queen’s Palace is another structure of the Babur Garden, which was a harem at the time. Today, this building in the southern part of the garden has become a famous and tourist restaurant in the city. It is worth mentioning that during the renovation, a large swimming pool was added to the exterior of the palace for the well-being of tourists.
Minaret Jam, a symbol of the history of ancient architecture of Afghanistan
One of the most amazing sights of Afghanistan is the Minaret of Jam, which is built in the mountainous geography of this country. The 65-meter-high Jam Tower is located in Jam village, Ghor province, Afghanistan. This structure is one of the most valuable brick buildings in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the confluence of the Jam and Harirod rivers, this huge minaret can be seen in the mountainous expanse. Such structures represent buildings around them that have been destroyed throughout history.
Among the uses of the Minaret of Jam in its time, we can mention the possibility of observation or geographical address to guide the caravans. Remains of palaces and military structures, as well as the discovery of pottery jars around the Minaret of the Cup, reinforce the possibility of surveillance use of this building.
The 73-meter-high Qutb Minaret in Delhi , India , is the tallest brick tower in the world, built historically after the Jam Minaret. The pole is undeniably similar to the cup. For this reason, researchers believe that its architecture was inspired by the construction of the Cup Minaret.
Features of the Cup Minaret
The minaret of the cup dates back to the 12th century AD. This building was built by the order of “Sultan Ghiasuddin Ghori”. According to the inscriptions, the architect of this huge brick structure was a person named “Ali”. The whole structure has a cylindrical and conical nature, the surface of which is an octagon with a diameter of 9 meters, and as the height increases, the diameter of the tower decreases. Among the beauties of the Minaret of Jam, we can mention the tiles and inscriptions on its outer walls.
In fact, the art used in the exterior of the tower is a combination of Arabic inscriptions and verses from the Qur’an, tiles and other geometric decorations. The beauty inside this building is not less than its external appearance; A spiral staircase spans the entire height of the tower and extends from the beginning to the end of the tower, which ends at the watchtower.
Undoubtedly, the Minaret of Jam is one of the masterpieces of artistic and traditional architecture of Afghanistan. But this work of art is not happy these days and is on the verge of destruction. In fact, the location of this ancient brick tower is one of the main reasons for its erosion due to its proximity to the river water flow and rising water levels during the rainy season.
Kabul Museum, an ancient collection of Afghanistan’s sights
National Museum of Afghanistan
The Dari Museum, or in Persian, the “National Museum of Afghanistan”, is located in the Darulaman area of the country, southwest of the capital, 15 km away. In the process of completing the works of this museum and preserving the historical culture of Afghanistan, many difficulties and adventures have occurred.
This museum is one of the most important sights in Afghanistan and was once a huge treasure trove of antiquities and thousands of historical coins. Nevertheless, unfortunately, the National Museum has suffered a lot during the years when this land has been struggling with great wars and internal problems.
The looting of the museum and its removal from the country, as well as the destruction of many precious statues by the Taliban, are examples of the tragic events that the National Museum of Afghanistan has struggled to date.
Eventually, however, political and military positions changed, and major decisions were made to return the looted property to the Afghan National Museum. Many of the looted artifacts had reached European territory from the Pakistani border.
National Museum of Afghanistan
Despite many efforts, the museum is not as complete as it was in the days before the war, but it paints a good picture of the country’s rich history and is a remarkable adventure for tourists. In this museum, valuable historical artifacts from important historical periods are well placed.
Include this museum in the list of Afghanistan’s sights. To reach it, walk about 15 km from Kabul on the road to Daralaman.
Herat Grand Mosque, one of the sights of Afghanistan
Herat Grand Mosque – one of the sights of Afghanistan
Another place to see in Afghanistan is the city of Herat. Herat Grand Mosque of Afghanistan is one of the historical and magnificent monuments in Islamic architecture. This building is the oldest mosque in the city, whose extraordinary beauty has been preserved with many renovations.
The original construction of this mosque remained unfinished during the “Ghorian period” and the rule of “Sultan Ghiasuddin Ghori”, but with the approach of the “Timurids”, efforts to build this mosque flourished. Herat was the capital of the country during the Timurids. Due to the importance of this city at that time, talented artists and architects were used to build the mosque.
The multiplicity of domes, spiers, porches, porches and gates is one of the spectacular features of Herat Grand Mosque. The mosque covers an area of 46,000 square meters and welcomes thousands of Muslims to pay their respects.
Other beauties of the Herat Grand Mosque are the art of tiling, as well as the presence of four inscriptions inscribed with verses from the Qur’an and poems by mystics.
Watching the magnificent architecture and spectacular art of tiling in this mosque will be very attractive and exciting for lovers of historical and Islamic buildings. To go to this mosque, you have to go to Sultan Ghiasuddin Ghori Street in Herat.
Herat Citadel, a surviving building from the time of Alexander
The Herat Citadel is another place of interest in Afghanistan, also known as “Ekhtiaruddin Fortress”. This fort was built by Alexander the Great and had a military use.
This historical fortress has been destroyed and rebuilt many times in different periods. During the reign of Shah Rukh, son of Timur, these restorations were accompanied by the art of tiling in the towers. The materials used in this building are raw clay and one of the prominent architectural features is the existence of 13 towers.
What is left of this great historical monument today, after many attacks and restorations, is known as the Museum of the City of Herat and one of the sights of Afghanistan. For an adventure in this historical and military monument, you should go to Mehri Street in Herat.
Blue Mosque of Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
One of the most beautiful mosques in Afghanistan should be considered the Blue Mosque of Mazar-e-Sharif. In this mosque, blue tiles are roaring. Many stories have been told about the identity of this mosque. Some believe that the tomb of Imam Ali (as) is located in this area.
Although the correctness of this belief is rejected by most Muslims and the tomb of this Imam is attributed to the city of Najaf, but the decoration of the Blue Mosque named after Ali (AS) has caused this mosque to be of great value in the eyes of many.
Mazar-e-Sharif Blue Mosque – one of the sights of Afghanistan
This mosque has experienced tense times until today. Its durability has been accompanied by frequent demolition, reconstruction and completion of the construction process. In addition to pure tiles, a large courtyard and the presence of four main doors in four important streets of the city (such as “Masoud Shahid Boulevard”) are the architectural features of this mosque.
One of the unique beauties of these doors is their decoration with colorful and glazed tiles. Paintings on the walls of the mosque were painted by order of Mohammad Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan. These paintings have created a wonderful view and added to the artistic aspect of the mosque.
Band Amir National Park
Band Amir – Photo by Hamid Reza Rahmani
Band-e-Amir, or Afghanistan National Park, is another landmark in the country, with six lakes in the Hindu Kush Mountains in Bamyan Province. These six lakes are separated by dams and their water is supplied from Keprak spring. This section is known as Afghanistan National Park.
Afghanistan National Park is located 250 km west of Kabul. Numerous species of animals such as mountain sheep, wolves, foxes and birds live in this park.
One of the features of Band-e-Amir is its unique geographical scenery, sheltered by rugged mountain ranges, which have created an extraordinary frame with the beauty of the lake. If you are looking for the beauties of nature, do not miss going to Afghanistan National Park.
Empty holes of Buddha statues in Bamyan
Buddha statues – one of the sights of Afghanistan
The huge Buddha statues in Bamyan province are one of Afghanistan’s most historic attractions. These statues were carved into rocks in the Bamyan Valley. The strange stature of the Great Buddha at 53 meters high and the small Buddha at 35 meters in the heart of the rock have made this region one of the most mysterious places in Afghanistan. These two giant stone statues have been excavated in huge holes known as “caves”.
As the Taliban came to power, only holes were left in the building. According to Taliban forces, all the statues should have been destroyed. These huge stone statues have also met the fate of many of Afghanistan’s museum sculptures and were destroyed by the group’s stubbornness.
Today, in the cliffs of the Bamyan valleys of Afghanistan, one of the tallest stone sculptures in the world, only empty cavities are left. Nevertheless, watching these remains is not without grace for the explorers of history.
Going to the sights of Afghanistan is a special journey that requires an adventurous spirit. There are bittersweet tales in the soil of this land that only travel can tell. The beauty of Afghanistan has found meaning behind the ugly face of war; This is the reason for the specialization of this land.
Pack your bags and try a new style of adventure this time. See the culture, history and nature of this land closely and do not forget to tell us about the unspoken things of this land.