Afghanistan is one of the most amazing countries in South Asia, which unfortunately has no access to the sea. In contrast to the other mountainous countries, this specific one can be proud of its interesting natural features, while having mostly semi-desert climate. Beautiful mountains, valleys and lakes create an unforgettable ethereal landscape. The country is rather interesting in terms of religion: it was here where Zoroastrianism was originated, here is the Bamiyan Valley known to be one of the main centers of the Buddhism formation. In addition, Afghanistan has long-lasting Muslim traditions, being one of the inspirational countries for various poets. This is the reason why the habits of the locals differ depending on the region you get.
Afghanistan can be a proud historical country with its numerical monuments spread out all over the country. But the beauty of the natural monuments is no less significant by all means. The first stop of the nature fans should be at 300 km north-east of the capital. The place, which seems to have poor inhabitants and is quite hard to reach, is called Nuristan, which literally means ‘land of light’. The charm of the historical region is that it’s almost completely located on five valleys of the picturesque foothills of the Hindu Kush. This is one of the most beautiful and majestic mountain ranges in the world. It merges the unique appearance of preserved mountains, valleys and lakes. Those will satisfy the taste of even the peakiest visitors.
The capital of the country is Kabul. The city is located in the central eastern part of Afghanistan. It’s considered to be one of the highest capitals in the world with its 1800 meters above the sea level location. The conditions of the capital are great as it lies on the bank of the river. It’s both the main economic and cultural center of the country. It was founded back in 1504, serving as a capital for Mogul Empire.
The most noteworthy sights of Kabul are the Muslim monuments and buildings, including numerous mosques, mausoleums and madrassas. Some of the most popular ones are restored, such as the 18th century mosque Pul-e Khishti, Vizir-Akbar Khan mausoleum of Timur Shah, Id Gah Mosque, which was also built in the 18th century. The latter also serves as a main religious center, when the local religious festivals are held.
As for the rest of the places of interest, one should name the ancient fortress of Bala Hissar, which was founded back in the 5th century and used to be an army garrison. It’s amazing that the scenery from this fortress is simply stunning.
The cultural peculiarities of the Afghan nobles can be explored with the visit to Paghman valley, which is not that far from the capital of the country. Here the locals will be pleased to tell you a lot about their habits, will give you a chance to taste typical local food, as well as present you with some interesting pieces, which can serve as the best memories from your visit. The beautiful handmade items are not only in the form of small dolls or spoons, the locals even make natural gardens with the local traditions.
The northern province of the country, also known as Balkh, has the co-named capital. The place is now located on the ground of legendary Bactria, known since the time of Zarathustra (this is where he was born). Bactria in ancient times was famous for its cavalry.
For those who do not want to miss something out, there’s a list of suggested places, which need to be visited while in Afghanistan, including Jalalabad, a mountain oasis in the middle of wild desert, the Khyber Pass, which is connecting Afghanistan with its neighbor Pakistan, the north-western province of Herat with the great Friday Mosque of the 13th century.
Afghanistan is a difficult country to the traveler, but incredibly addictive!