Fortress sights in Afghanistan
- Sort by:
Towering over the Old City, the Herat Citadel has watched over Herat’s successes and setbacks with its imposing gaze for centuries. The oldest building in Herat, it is believed to stand on the foundations of a fort built by Alexander the Great. It has served as a seat of power, military garrison and prison since its construction until 2005, when the Afghan army presented it to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, opening its doors to outsiders for the first time. The Citadel is built on an artificial mound and stretches 250m east to west. Its 18 towers rise over 30m above street level, with walls 2m thick. A moat once completed the defences, although this…
The old seat of royal power, a fortress has stood on the site of the Bala Hissar since the 5th century AD, and quite possibly before. It sits at the foot of the Koh-e Shir Darwaza mountains, guarding the southwestern approaches to Kabul.
The citadel as it stands today was built at the end of the 19th century. The previous fortress was destroyed by the vengeful British army at the end of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Now, as then, it is used by the army and closed to visitors. However, the old city walls snake out from its towers along the mountain ridges and make a fantastic walk, raising you high above the dirty air of the city to give some breathtaking views of the…
The imposing ruins of Shahr-e Zohak guard the entrance to the Bamiyan valley, perched high on the cliffs at the confluence of the Bamiyan and Kalu rivers. Built by the Ghorids, they stand on foundations dating back to the 6th century. Genghis Khan's grandson was killed here, bringing down his murderous fury on the whole Bamiyan valley as a result. The colloquial name Zohak is taken from the legendary serpent-haired king of Persian literature.
The towers of the citadel are some of the most dramatic in Afghanistan. Made of mud-brick on stone foundations, they wrap around the side of the cliff, with geometric patterns built into their crenellations for decoration. The towers…