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Sightseeing in Herat - what to see. Complete travel guide

The gorgeous city of Herat is the center of the province with the same name and one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Afghanistan. Do you want to learn more about the history of this region? Fabulous architectural landmarks are always ready to tell their interesting stories to guests of Herat. The city is situated in the fertile valley of the Hari River. In order to see the most important city on the Silk Road, many foreign guests visit Herat every year.
The story of Herat started many millennia ago, yet during the ancient period. Historians still do not know the exact date when the city was founded. Earlier mentions of Herat date back to the period of the Achaemenid Empire. When Alexander the Great ran his campaign against the Persians and captured the territory of the modern city, he renamed it to Alexandria Ariana. When the legendary leader died, the city was captured by different kings and rulers and was added to different countries in Central Asia. Despite the continuous change of rulers, Herat remained an important stop on the Silk Road.
In the 20s of the 13th century, Mongols captured and almost completely destroyed Herat. Local people were proudly fighting for their motherland but they failed to save it. The Mongol army killed almost all aboriginal people. Rebuilding works started in the town only fifteen years later. The Timurid dynasty period was the time of prosperity and development for Herat. The city became so rich that Iran and the United Kingdom paid their attention to such an attractive target. During a new period of wars, the town was destroyed again and captured by the British. In 1863, Herat officially became a part of Afghanistan. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
The Great Mosque of Herat or Jami Masjid of Herat, which was built the Ghurids under the rule of the Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad Ghori, is still the most important landmark in the city. The foundation of the shrine was laid at the beginning of the 13th century. The sacred building was destroyed a number of times during battles, military attacks, and natural disasters. Global reconstruction of the mosque happened in the 14th century. This is when the mosque got a beautiful garden surrounding it. When the Afghan War happened, the mosque was severely damaged once again. The renovation works started only in the 40s of the 20th century.
Nowadays, the Jami Masjid of Herat has a large inner yard surrounded by four iwan portals. There are tall minarets in each of the corners. All minarets feature detailed patterns in different shades of blue. The mosque can provide space for five thousand prayers. There is a large bronze cauldron with intricate decoration in the middle of the yard. The country’s government still invests much money in maintaining the mosque and keeping it in great condition despite all military tensions.
The Citadel of Herat is considered the oldest building in the city. You will find it in the historic part of Herat. The building is two hundred and fifty meters long. This is a gorgeous architectural complex consisting of eighteen towers that rise above other nearby buildings as their height is almost thirty meters. Initially, there was a moat surrounding the citadel, but the moat was dried and demolished in 2003. A park appeared instead of it soon, and now this is a popular public area that attracts both locals and guests of the city. The northwestern part of the citadel still has writings that praise the castle and name it the strongest citadel of its time. Before, lines from poems decorated the walls.
Nowadays, there is a museum in the west part of the citadel. The venue exhibits artifacts discovered here during the archaeological excavations. There are more than two hundred and fifty different types of relics in the museum. All of them tell more about the history of the Afghanistan’s region, about the lifestyle and traditions of indigenous tribes starting from the ancient period. A part of the wall with numerous spikes is the most important part of the citadel. As a rule, this is the place that tourists prefer to reach first in order to admire the breath-taking view of surroundings and look at the panorama of Herat.
The Museum of Jihad is another important attraction that is open in West Herat. The venue opened its doors in 2010. During a visit to this museum, you will learn more about the wars and battle conflicts that happened in Afghanistan. The building consists of three rotundas. One of them is blue and the other two rotundas are green and white. Outside walls form a memorial with the names of soldiers who died during bloody battles, as well as the names of civilians who died on those tough times for the history of the city. Near the museum, there is a beautiful park with fountains that is great to relax after an excursion in the museum.
Herat has an airport with regular flights from Kabul, Kandahar, and Mashhad. If you decide to travel by bus, Mashhad is the best starting point. It will take approximately eight hours to reach the city. If you decide to travel in a car, you need to be very careful because the road to Herat can hide many challenges and problems because of an unstable situation in the country.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Herat and surroundings

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Sightseeing in regions nearby Herat

All about Herat, Afghanistan - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with OrangeSmile.com - find out the 'must see' things in Herat, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Herat in few days.
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