Afghanistan is a country with a rich history, and it is located at the crossroads of multiple cultures and people. Although many people in the world connect this country with war, terrorism, and political turmoil, it is home to beautiful locations and architecture. Today, we will talk about the most beautiful places in Afghanistan and some of the less-known areas that reside in this country.
It is so vast in size that it is challenging to pin down just how many lovely and beautiful places you can find in this country. Unique culture, traditions, people, ancient history, architecture, and archeological sites are just some of the reasons why this country is worth visiting. Sadly, due to numerous conflicts, it is one of the least explored places on the planet, but we managed to list some of the prettiest locations. So let us begin.
Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan, home of seven million people, a center of political power, the largest city, and one of the busiest locations in the country. This city offers attractive sites, including the historical park, Babur’s garden, Afghan National Museum, and many more.
This ancient city has been around for over 3.500 years, and in ancient times it was a cultural center of Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. It has recently also undertaken several architectural projects, including Abdul Rahman Mosque, designed in the traditional Islamic style. It is famous for its gardens, palaces, and bazaars, and when you get a chance to visit, you should pay a visit to Babur Tomb, Darul Aman Palace, and Shah-Do Shamshira Mosque.
2. Mazar-e Sharif
Located in the capital of Balkh province, Mazar-e Sharif is the fourth largest city in the country. It is a beautiful and historical town in the region, known for countless beauties and sceneries. Mazar-e Sharif has a tomb attributed to the fourth Islamic caliph, Ali bin Talib, who was the cousin of the Prophet Mohammad himself.
The tomb is a gorgeous array of arabesque and south Asian architecture, and it is one of the main destinations to visit. However, there is much more to see in this city aside from Muslim historical locations. It is a home of numerous Greek relics that found their way into the city with the coming of Alexander’s armies in the third century BC.
Founded by the emperor Akbar, Jalalabad is the fifth largest city in Afghanistan and home to over 356.000 people. It is located about 130 kilometers from Kabul and serves as the capital of Nangarhar Province in the eastern part of the country. It is also known as the administrative and economic center of the region.
The city is also famous for its climate that allows citrus orchards and green parks to grow, and it is one of the most recognizable attributes of Jalalabad. When visiting, make sure to stop by the mausoleum of King Amanullah Khan and countless manicured parks and gardens.
Faizabad is a city located in the upper eastern part of the country, and it was historically remote due to poor road connections, making it a bit cut off from the rest of Afghanistan. This is not, by all means, a bad thing since the detachment from the rest of the country made the local culture surprisingly well preserved.
The city has a lot of rustic feel to it, as you can see galloping in the streets and bearded sheep farmers surrounding the roads. Faizabad has two working markets, where locals trade cutlery, cotton, cloth, and provisions such as salt, sugar, or tea. The city is famous for Buddhas, Bamiyan Caves, architecture, and mosques, while one of the most attractive locations to visit is Faizabad Chowk.
Herat is considered the heart of the country, and it is home to a stunning Friday mosque and stronghold. This mosque was commissioned as early as 1.200 AD, and the construction was finally completed over the centuries. It is an ancient city located in western Afghanistan, surrounded by various historical sites.
What makes the legacy of this city even more remarkable is the fact that it was destroyed and rebuilt many times during history and that it persevered throughout various struggles. Nowadays, it is home to a vast collection of medieval Islamic buildings, such as the Great Mosque complex. When visiting, look for the Great Mosque of Herat, Herat Citadel, and Herat National Museum, as these are some of the most attractive locations.
Kandahar is an industrial and commercial center of the country, while it is also widely considered to be the birthplace of modern Afghanistan. It is the second-largest city in Afghanistan, and it is well-known for its history, as Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria Arachosia on this very land.
Nowadays, Kandahar is a city filled with mosques, shrines, and mausoleums to luminaries from the national past. One of the most interesting places to see in the city is the Friday mosque of Kandahar, which is an Islamic holy place of worship that carries huge importance in the country.
Balkh is one of the unique cities in Afghanistan and is considered one of the oldest cities in the world. Arabs named the city “The Mother of All Cities,” and it was the center of the Bactrian Empire. The history runs deep in Balkh as it is around 4.000 years old.
This city was historically an ancient center of Zoroastrianism, Islam, and Buddhism, and it has been one of the major cities of Khorasan since its early history. Marco Polo, explorer, writer, and Italian businessman, described Balkh as a “great and great city.” Some of the most attractive locations to visit are Blue Mosque, Green Mosque, and Buzkashi Stadium.
Located in northern Afghanistan, this small town was once an ancient caravan on the margins of the Silk Road. It is widely known for its weekly market, which is highly popular. The market is made by local artisans where you can find various types of almonds and pistachios for which the city is also very famous.
Samangan covers 11.218 square kilometers and is surrounded by Sar-e Pol Province in the west, Balkh in the north, Baghlan in the east, and Bamyan in the south. When you get a chance to visit, some of the most popular options are Bazar-e-Danbora Faroshi and Takht-e Rostam (Stupa).
Bamiyan is the capital of Bamyan Province, located in central Afghanistan. It is also widely known as the “Shining Light” and “Valley of Gods,” and it is an extraordinary location for all lovers of culture and religious history.
In ancient times Bamiyan was known as a hub for Hindu-Buddhist worship, as it thrived with artisans, monasteries, and sculptors in the time before Muslim invasions. The city has rich artistic history, and two giant Buddha statues that stood there were considered some of the prettiest carvings in all of Asia during the 4th and 5th centuries. Sadly, in March 2001, these sculptures were destroyed by the Taliban, which caused international outrage.
Bagram is located north of the capital city of Kabul, and it lies in close proximity to the famous hills of Hindu Kush. It was a great route of the Silk Road for numerous traders from ancient India. This city was originally referred to as a Persian colony, and its development was later on influenced by the Greek style.
The architecture of the city is unique, and it is a mixture of Arab, Indian, and Hellenistic styles. The city was occupied by Alexander the Great in 300 BC, which modified its layout in the Grecian style. Bagram is also known for rhinoceros hunting, and if you ever find yourself in the city, make sure to visit Bagram Air Base Airport.
Although Afghanistan was torn by wars and numerous political and religious incidents, it remains a country with rich history and deep cultural roots. Visiting this country is problematic nowadays, but if there ever comes a chance that you can do so, make sure to check some of the locations we have listed.