Afghanistan is a country in Central Asia. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan with seven states. It is landlocked. The country has two official languages – Dari and Pashto. Unitary state is divided into 34 provinces, which are subdivided into self-governing areas. The leading religion is Islam (Sunni interpretation).
The state is classified as a country with a poor economy and low GDP. In the 80-90s the Taliban regime ruled the country, which was overthrown only in 2002. Now civil wars continue on the territory of the state.
Population 29 121 286 Population 647 500 sq km Territory 647 500 sq km Part of the world Asia Capital Kabul Afghanistan Money (AFN) Domain area .af Country phone code +93
The most popular hotels in the capital are: “Kabul Serena Hotel” with three stars and “Safi Landmark Hotel & Suites”, which has four stars. Popular mini-hotels in Kabul include Marco Polo Inn, International Club, Diana Inn Hotel & Restaurant.
In Herat, you can stay at “Nazary 4 star hotel” which according to tourists is the safest and most comfortable hotel of the city. In addition to traditional hotel rooms, Afghanistan actively rents rooms in hostels and entire summer cottages, equipped with everything one needs for comfortable rest.
Climate: Arid to semi-desert climates. Cold winters and hot summers.
In Herat, the first place to visit is Juma Mosque, which is one of the greatest architectural monuments of the Middle East. In Kabul you can admire the Bamiyan Buddha statues, Idgah Mosque, Babur Garden and the Tirich-Mir peaks. Afghanistan’s capital is generally rich in places that delight the eye and leave an unforgettable impression.
Bamiyan Buddha statues in 2001, against the protests of the world community, including Islamic countries, the statues were destroyed by the Taliban, who believed that they were pagan idols and should be destroyed.
In Mazar-e-Sharif the famous Blue Mosque is presented to tourists, and in Pyanj you can enjoy a visit to the Kaahka Fortress.
Paghman Valley impresses with the magnificent combination of mountain scenery and the luxury of the houses of the nobility, and a visit to Tora Bora in Jalabad is guaranteed to leave no one indifferent.
Terrain: Mostly rocky mountains, with plains in the north and southwest.
For tourists who enjoy gastronomic pleasures, Kabul offers a fairly wide range of establishments, including: French bistro – “Le Bistro”, traditional national cuisine – “Taverna Du Liban”, “Kulba Afghan”, coffee house – “Cabul Coffee House”. “Great Game Travel” can offer lovers of outdoor activities a great opportunity to ride on jeeps, on the mountain ranges of Afghanistan.
For shopping lovers, Kabul has an excellent shopping mall “Zarif & Royah” where you can buy branded items from all over the world. In Herat there is Sultan Hamidy mall where you can buy high-quality handmade souvenirs.
Resources: natural gas, oil, coal, copper, chromites, talc, barite, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semi-precious stones.
Kabul is home to the Kabul National Museum, always open to tourists. Islamic art is on display at the Gajah Museum.
Also, all kinds of provincial museums are widespread in Afghanistan, including those in Balkh, Kandahar and Nangarhar. Within the framework of Kabul National Museum there is also a gallery, which anyone can visit. The museums are open to tourists during standard hours.
In addition to traditional history museums, Afghanistan has many museums and galleries devoted to military subjects. These sites may be open on a permanent or seasonal basis or as part of a festival program to commemorate a certain date.
Money: The national currency is Afghanistan (AFN). In many towns you can pay in U.S. dollars in stores, but in some areas, especially those remote from the capital, only the national currency is used.
As such, there are no official resorts in Afghanistan, due to the war ended in 2000. The country is undergoing a period of reconstruction, and in some areas is still a civil war. However, you should know that three-quarters of Afghanistan are mountains, so the air in the country is clean, and the scenery is beautiful.
For a quiet holiday Nuristan is perfect, and for active hiking in the mountain ranges – Pandsher. In any case, before going to the country for a vacation, it is worth thoroughly acquainted with the current situation in the city of interest. Afghanistan is still full of surprises for the visiting population.
Afghanistan has airports in Kadul, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat and Jalalabad. There is no stable rail service in the country, owing to the mountainous terrain and the uncertainty of gauges, but there is a small line from Mazar-e-Sharif to Hairaton, which was built relatively recently. Short rail lines connect Afghanistan with other countries. River ports are located in Khairabad and Shair Khan Port.The country has no seaport and has no access to the sea.
The main mode of transport within the country is by bus. Car rentals are widespread. Some tourists hitchhike, but in view of the current situation of the country, it is better to refrain from such means of travel.
Standard of Living
At the moment Afghanistan is in the recovery phase: many roads are still in ruins after the past wars, the towns are rebuilt, search operations are actively carried out to find unexploded mines, which pose a great danger to residents of the country and tourists.
Afghanistan’s economy was also significantly affected during the hostilities that took place in the country.Afghanistan is forced to receive material assistance from other countries. Economically, agriculture prevails over industry. Average wages and life expectancy in the country are difficult to calculate because of the unstable situation.
The capital of Afghanistan is the wonderful city of Kabul. It offers a lot of opportunities for tourists to have a good time and see the sights.
Pandsher city is more suitable for the lovers of fresh air and outdoor activities, as it is a beautiful mountainous province.
On the territory of the foothills of Hindkush there is a hard-to-reach, but strikingly beautiful landscape, historical region of Nuristan, also known as the Land of Light. The entire composition includes the provinces of Badashkhan and Kunar.
The province of Balkh in historical terms has been known since the time of Zarathustra himself.
Herat is considered one of the most ancient and beautiful cities in Afghanistan, and Kandahar is the historical center of Pashtun times.
The name of the country is translated differently – from Persian – “country of silence”, from Turkic – “hidden”, in both cases it means silence, peace, oblivion. The name fully corresponded to the long-standing reputation of the country, inaccessible from behind the mountains, where the tribes, yearning for independence, were settled. Were it not for the civil war in 1978 and the protracted conflict between radical groups, Afghanistan would have remained for many a typical country of Islam, dutifully veiled women and repressed men.
But what happened is that Afghanistan is now the most dangerous country in the world, and ancient Kabul is one of the most dangerous cities, not because of thieves, robbers, and crooks, but because of rampaging terrorists.
And yet this amazingly beautiful land could have become a tourist’s dream.
About the Country
The Islamic State of Afghanistan is located in the center of Southwest Asia, where it is surrounded by Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, and India.
What every tourist needs to know about Afghanistan:
- The capital is Kabul;
- total area – 652,864 sq. km;
- form of government – Islamic republic;
- official languages are Dari and Pashto, with five other regional languages;
- State religion: Sunni Islam;
- Currency: Afghani-Afghan (AFN), roughly equal to the Russian ruble.
6 interesting facts about Afghanistan
- Afghanistan was first mentioned in chronicles of the VI century BC, when it was part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.
- The Afghan cuisine is one of the oldest on the planet, but it is not distinguished by a variety of dishes. A few variations of pilaf and shish kebab with naan flatbread form the basis of the daily menu.
- The Afghan calendar is based on the lunar calendar, so even the beginning of the new year does not coincide with the European one. National holidays last up to ten days, the duration varies from region to region.
- The graceful Afghan Greyhound is a symbol of friendliness and playfulness, one of the oldest breeds of dogs. And if legend is to be believed, it was this dog that was on Noah’s ark in the Bible.
- According to UN statistics, almost 90% of the drugs in Europe come from Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of opiates.
- Only 48% of Afghan men can read and write; among women the literacy rate is three times less, only 15%.
Subtropical continental, mountainous climate with sharp diurnal temperature variations. The climate varies around the country: Kabul is famous for its cold winters and hot summers, in Jalalabad real subtropics, hot in July – up to 40 degrees in the daytime, in January warm – plus 2 ° C average monthly temperature, a milder and wetter climate in Kandahar.
Only in the southeast of the country, there is enough rain to keep the mountain slopes green, the rest of the country has little rain, it only rains in winter and spring. But dust storms are frequent in summer, and strong northerly winds do not subside in winter.
What to see in Afghanistan
Kabul. High-mountain city with an ancient history was once the main city of the Mongol Empire, and 4 centuries ago became the Afghan capital. The main attractions are mosques, interesting architecture of the Darulaman Palace, which houses the parliament, and about the history of the state and its culture can be found in the national museum.
Kandahar. According to legends, the city was founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. Now it is the most important trading center. Sightseeings include mosques, the mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Durrani, the Ark fortress.
Ghazni. The city used to be a center of Buddhist culture, but it gradually lost its status because of the destructive wars. And traces of Buddhist culture are almost gone, but there are beautiful minarets, the tomb of sultans in the garden of Bahi Firuzi, the fortress of the XIII century.
Band-e-Amir National Park. The first national park in Afghanistan created with the help of the United States. Six cascading lakes next to the Bamian Valley, terraces of travertine are extremely beautiful.
Bamiyan Caves. The caves in the limestone rock are more than a thousand and a half years old and were once inhabited by monks who decorated the walls with frescoes of the Buddha in a technique that is not inferior to the painters of the Renaissance. There were sculptures near the caves, but they were destroyed by the Taliban.
Mazar-e-Sharif. The city is worth visiting for the unique temple complex Rosia Sharif, which is considered the tomb of the righteous Caliph of Islam Hazrat Ali, a place of worship.
Driving in Afghanistan
The backbone of Afghanistan’s road system is the highway connecting Herat, Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul. There are 8,000 kilometers of asphalt that has been dilapidated by explosions and 26,000 unpaved roads that don’t even know they have asphalt. 85% of the roads are under reconstruction, due to the military action of the last 40 years, the transport networks, as well as communication networks, are in poor condition.
There is no complete system of railroads either, there are several international lines across the Amu-Darya: Termez (Uzbekistan) – Jeyretan (Afghanistan), Kushka (Turkmenistan) – Turagundi (Afghanistan).
Afghanistan has no access to the sea, there is no maritime transport either, although barges ply along the Amu-Darya, in the part of the border with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
There are eight heliports built by the Americans and a dozen and a half airports, four of which – in Kabul, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad – are international.
Tips and tricks for Afghanistan
The very first advice should be to refrain from traveling while the country remains dangerous: there are bombings in the streets of Kabul and shootings continue, terrorist attacks occur every now and then, people die, including foreigners. Weigh the pros and cons before traveling and if you do not change your mind at least heed the advice.