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Architecture of Afghanistan

Afghanistan is rich in architectural heritage & natural beauty. Located in the major network of ancient trade routes, connecting India & China to Persia & beyond, Afghan architecture represents layers of history A thread on the beautiful architecture & monuments of Afghanistan.

The Minaret of Jam, Ghor, Afghanistan A UNESCO world heritage site in western Ghor province of Afghanistan. Built in 12th century, the decoration of this 62m tall minaret consists of alternating bands of kufic & naskhi calligraphy, geometric patterns & verses from the Qur’an.

Friday Mosque/Great Mosque of Herat, Afghanistan Also known as the Jummah Mosque is located in the city of Herat. It was built in the 15th century by the Ghurids. The mosque is laid out in a conventional iwan pattern, with three walls and a central courtyard.

The Ghurid Portal and some of the design inside the Portal that was uncovered at the Great Mosque of Herat, Afghanistan.

Khwaja Abdulla Shrine, Herat, Afghanistan Constructed in 1428 A.D, it is influenced by a Timurid architectural style. The iwan walls were kept rough, despite the grandeur of the ornamentation. The brickwork here is glazed turquoise & black in a ‘banai style’ & chevron pattern.

Herat citadel, Afghanistan Dates back to 330 BC, when Alexander the Great & his army arrived to Afghanistan after the Battle of Gaugamela. Also part of the architectural works were undertaken by Shah Rukh, who commissioned the tilework that can still be seen on several towers.

Blue Mosque (Shrine of Hazrat Ali) /Rawza-i-Sharif, Balkh, Afghanistan Built in the 15th century. The structure appears to be floating, a technique in Islamic architecture. The exterior is made of blue hues of highly detailed mosaic tiles, inspired by Persian design.

Exquisite details from the Blue Mosque (Shrine of Hazrat Ali) /Rawza-i-Sharif, Balkh, Afghanistan.

Bagh-e-Babur/Garden of Babur, Kabul, Afghanistan A historic park developed around 1528, it is the final resting place of the first Mughal emperor Babur. The complex comprises Shahjahani Mosque,a Garden pavilion & a Queen’s palace. In 1933 it was converted into public space.

Ahmad Shah Durrani Mausoleum, Afghanistan Ahmedshah Durrani was the founder of the Durrani dynasty. His tomb constructed in the 19th century is located in Kandhar adjacent to the shrine of the cloak. The octagonal-shaped tomb is a symbol of ancient Islamic Afghan architecture.

Front view of Ahmad Shah Durrani Mausoleum, Afghanistan.

Murad Khani historic District, Kabul, Afghanistan The Double Column Serai in. This wonderful architecture reflects Afghan simplicity. The Murad Khani district in the heart of the Afghan capital consists of several historic buildings on the north bank of the Kabul River.

Ghazni Minarets, Afghanistan The 12th century minarets are among the last surviving remnants of the great Ghaznavid Empire. The two minarets are called, Mas’ud III Minaret & Bahram Shah Minaret after the ruler who built them, Mas’ud III 1099-1115 & Bahram Shah A.D. 1118-1157.

Taimur Shah Durrani Mausoleum, Kabul, Afghanistan One of the largest surviving monuments in central Kabul. The construction of the mosque began in the 19th century. The tomb is an octagonal structure. Above the crypt in which the grave stands is a square central space.

Colourful houses of Kabul, Afghanistan In 2017 a project was initiated to paint the houses of the city bright colours. The idea was to bring a sense of beauty to an otherwise conflict-affected area, with the intention of improving the mental health of local residents.

Kart-e Sakhi, Afghanistan The mosque was built over two centuries ago during the reign of Ahmad Shah Abdali. It has been renovated and expanded many times since then. The last expansion and renovation happened in 2009.

Sakhi Shah-e Mardan Shrine or Ziyarat-e Sakhi, Kabul Afghanistan A shrine & mosque located in the Karte Sakhi area of Kabul, Afghanistan. The shrine is located at the foot of the Asmayi Hill, now better known as Television Hill. To its north and west is the Sakhi Cemetery.

Masjid-e-Sabz or Green Mosque, Balkh, Northern Afghanistan A Timurid era mosque built in 1421, in the city of Balkh northern Afghanistan, believed to have been commissioned by the then ruler of the Eastern Timurid Empire, Shah Rukh, or by his wife Gowharshad.

Kabul Museum Once one of the greatest museums in the world, it opened in 1919 & most of the artefacts exhibited were excavated in Afghanistan. It’s objects testified to its location at the crossroads of Asia. An estimated 70% of its 100,000-object collection has been looted.

The late king palaces in Paghman, Kabul Paghman is a town in the hills near Kabul. It is the seat of the Paghman District in Kabul. The gardens of Paghman are a major tourist attraction & why the city is also known as the garden capital of Afghanistan.

Shah do Shamshira (Mosque of the king of two swords), Kabul, Afghanistan Constructed in the 1920s during the reign of Amanullah Khan. It is named after an Arab commander who fought a battle in the 7th century. Style of the building is often described as ‘Afghan baroque’

Shah Do Shamshira Mosque, Kabul, Afghanistan An example of Afghan baroque architecture. A view from above…

Darul Aman Palace, Kabul, Afghanistan Built in 1927 with the vision to modernise Afghanistan King Amanullah Khan started construction of the palace in the 1920s. The palace is a U shaped building having 3 floors with 150 rooms.

Pul-e Khishti Mosque, Kabul, Afghanistan It was built at the end of the 18th century & is the largest mosque in Kabul. It has been restored and renovated several times. Pul-e-Khishti Mosque is easily identified by its large blue dome which appears like a sky.

Source: Bayt Al Fann