|As mentioned, travel into Afghanistan purely for tourism purposes is not advised at this time, and if you have to visit the country for other reasons you should remain extra vigilant. If you’re still interested in visiting Afghanistan, here are some of the top things you should see…
Kabul is the capital city of Afghanistan and has suffered greatly as a result of the wars over the past few decades. The city is now however undergoing restoration and redevelopment and tourists will find that there are a good selection of hotels, restaurants, shops and more. Kabul is becoming more westernized in what it offers, though is still very much Afghan and hencethe cultures and traditions should be respected here as with any other part of the country.
Kabul has a number of parks which are popular with both locals and visitors – Babur Gardens is one example, or Bagh-e Bala. A short distance outside of the city centre is Lake Qargha, a picturesque lake where you can swim and enjoy water sports as well as international cuisine. The Afghan National Museum, although still of interest, has unfortunately suffered at the hands of the Taliban – it has been looted and bombed over the years, meaning the collections are far more minimal than they once were. Still, you can see both early Buddhist and Islamic artefacts here.
In other parts of the country the Taliban have also set about destroying the existence of previous cultures. The town of Balkh has suffered greatly throughout history, though still has some historic attractions worth visiting for. Enclosing the town is an ancient wall built of mud and brick, whilst inside you can see the 15th century shrine of Khoja Abu Nasar Parsa.
The town of Bamiyan has a similar story to tell – this was once the site of giant carved Buddha statues but these were destroyed by the Taliban. Despite this destruction, the statues remain one of Afghanistan’s biggest tourist attractions and the ruins of them can still be seen. In addition this part of the country is very scenic.
If you’re wishing to see more of the Islamic culture of Afghanistan, one of the most impressive places to se this is the ‘Blue Mosque’ in the city of Mazar-e Sharif. The Blue Mosque is an ornately tiled mosque which was built on the site of a shrine and the burial site of Ali bin Talib.