National Gallery


The National Gallery contains a mix of historic pictures and paintings by modern Afghan artists. Like Kabul’s other cultural institutions, it didn’t escape the Taliban’s zealous attentions, as the cabinet displaying ripped up watercolour portraits attests. Amazingly, however, the gallery’s staff fought back as only artists could. Knowing the Taliban’s juncture against images of living things, many of the exhibits were over-painted with watercolours, hiding a horse behind a tree, or turning a person into a mountain view. Over 120 paintings were saved from destruction in this way when the zealots came with their knives.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kabul attractions

1. Sultani Museum

0.01 MILES

This private museum in the same grounds as the National Gallery is something of a curiosity. It was set up in 2004 by Ahmad Shah Sultani, a gold trader…

2. Mausoleum of Timur Shah


Timur Shah was the first to make Kabul the capital of a unified kingdom. He died in 1793, but it was another 23 years before his mausoleum was built,…

3. Shah-e Doh Shamshira Mosque

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Called the 'Mosque of the King of Two Swords', the Shah-e Doh Shamshira Mosque on Kabul river must be one of the most unusual in Islam. Built in the 1920s…

4. Mausoleum of Abdur Rahman Khan

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The tomb of the 'Iron Amir' sits in Zarnegar Park. Originally a palace, the building has a bulbous red dome atop a whitewashed drum, and fussy decorative…

5. Ka Faroshi Bird Market

0.48 MILES

Entering Kabul’s bird market is like stepping back in time a hundred years, to a corner of the city untouched by war or modernisation. Also known as the…

6. National Archive

0.52 MILES

Holding over 15,000 documents, the National Archive is housed in a palace built at the end of the 19th century by Abdur Rahman Khan for his son. …

7. Ghazi Stadium

1.19 MILES

Kabul’s main stadium hosts football matches most Friday afternoons. In the winter months and at Nauroz there are occasional buzkashi matches.

8. Kabul Zoo

1.22 MILES

The zoo is a popular place for Kabulis in need of recreation. Western animal lovers might find it more than a little depressing. Visitors are greeted…