Kabul is the largest city as well as the capital of Afghanistan. While Kabul has gained popularity with Khaled Hosseini’s novels, it is 3,500 years old and has long been a strategic location in terms of trade between South and Central Asia. Rich with culture, history and stories to tell, Kabul remains a city that one should have on their bucket list. Some things to do in Kabul include:
1. Babur’s Gardens – Built by Babur Shah in the 16th century and coming close to ruins during the many wars Kabul has seen, it has now been restored to its original glory by Aga Khan Trust for culture. The tombs of Babur and his family can be found here. The garden also has a white marble mosque built by Shah Jahan, Babur’s successor. It is incredibly serene, and one of the largest green spaces in the city.
2. Kabul Bala Hissar – Thought to be constructed in the 5th century A.D., the Bala Hissar is an ancient fortress that has seen years of destruction and reconstruction. Babur Shah and Timor Lang are said to have used this fortress as their place of residence.
3. Visit the Kabul museum – Once home to some of the finest antique collections in Asia, you can now see artifacts that have not been looted or destroyed. The museum opening hours are erratic.
4. See the mosques – The Shah-e Doh Shamshira Mosque is the most well known mosque in the city. It was built during the reign of Amanullah Khan and is unique in that it is a two-storey mosque. Some of the other mosques in the city include Masjid-e-Pule Kheshti, Masjid-e-Sherpur and Masjid-e-Id Gah.
5. Kabul Zoo – A statue of Marjan the lion welcomes you to the zoo. This was the zoo’s most famous resident because it survived the war in the late ’90s. The story of this lion goes like this: Although it survived on the war frontline, during the time of the Taliban attack, it is said that a man climbed in and attacked the lion, blinding it. In rage and because it was starving, the lion ate the man. Shortly after, the man’s brother, in an act of revenge, threw a grenade into its cage making the lion lame. It died a few weeks after.
Currently, the zoo hosts a few animals, however, this story is one that makes it most interesting.
Besides these, the bazaars in Kabul are a must visit for some of the famous Afghani rugs, food and trinkets. Well known ones include Shor Bazaar and Bazaar-e-Charchata. Get on a Kabul Flights to experience this war-wrecked but incredible city.