13 February 2009

Ancient Herat: not this weekend but soon

The mausoleum of Gawhar Shad, the Timurid queen, is one of the sites of historical interest in Herat, the city in western Afghanistan. (Photo by David Sanger)

Snow, which is bringing desperately needed moisture, prevented the departure of our flight this morning from Kabul to Herat, the ancient city in western Afghanistan that was once known as Aria. After more than three hours in the unheated Kabul airport and no let up from the snow, we decided to re-book our flight for early next month. Herat, the nation’s second largest city, is located on north banks of the Hari River near the borders with Iran and Turkmenistan and contains many ancient ruins and buildings, including remains of the ancient city walls and gates, a 15th-century mosque, and the tomb of the Sufi poet and saint Abdullah Ansari. It is now the marketing center for an irrigated, fertile, and densely-populated agricultural area.