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Some reasons why you might consider traveling to Afghanistan (provided by Wikivoyage):
Afghanistan is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Once the center of many powerful empires, the country has been in a state of chaos and turmoil since the 1970s. Political unrest is rampant, and the country suffers from a myriad of social problems such as war, drought, a public health crisis, terrorism, corruption, warlordism, poverty, and low literacy rates. However, under less extreme circumstances, this vast, mountainous country has a lot to offer to the adventurous, thrill-seeking traveler. Its landscapes are simply majestic, the history lover can appreciate numerous historical sites from all eras, and the architecture lover can feast their eyes on such wonderful Islamic architecture. There's even a shrine that houses a cloak once worn by Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
Afghanistan is a melting pot of different cultures, with Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks constituting the largest ethnic groups. Islam is the state religion, hence the name "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan". A majority of Afghans are Sunni Muslims, although a sizeable portion of them are Shia Muslims. Under less dire circumstances for the country, tourists might find themselves being treated as celebrities here; in fact, they might be showered with a lot of hospitality and care, even if they unintentionally make a few cultural blunders.
- 1 Kabul – in the east, the capital city
- 2 Bamiyan – The remains of the Buddhas. Once considered one of the wonders of the world, these tall stone carvings were destroyed by the Taliban in a notorious act of cultural vandalism.
- 3 Ghazni – in the south-east, between Kabul and Kandahar
- 4 Herat – in the west, gateway to Iran, has a strong Persian influence and several interesting historical sites
- 5 Jalalabad – in the east, between Kabul and the Khyber Pass
- 6 Kandahar – a very conservative city in the south. Known as the home of the Taliban.
- 7 Kunduz – a major city in the northeast, and crossing point to Tajikistan
- 8 Mazar-e Sharif – home to the impressively tiled Blue Mosque, and the staging point for trips into Uzbekistan. Ethnically diverse, Mazar is considered the most liberal city in the country after Kabul.
- 1 Balkh – once one of the greatest cities in the region and capital of ancient Bactria. Although much of it lies in ruins, the remaining architectural and cultural elements are little changed since Alexander the Great set foot there.
- 2 Band-e Amir National Park – 5 stunningly turquoise lakes in a remote and beautiful setting not far from Bamiyan
- 3 Khyber Pass – the gateway to India and historic route of invasion and trade
- 4 Minaret of Jam – well off the beaten path but some say worth the journey – possible as a roundtrip from Herat or when traversing the Central Route from Herat to Kabul
- 5 Panjshir Valley – a beautiful trekking area leading to the famous Anjuman Pass
- 6 Salang Pass – a high mountain pass and tunnel linking Kabul to the north
- 7 Shamali Plain – a green plain north of Kabul that produced a lot of the food for central Afghanistan. From Kabul it extends north through Charikar, Parwan province to Jabal os Saraj. The Taliban destroyed the irrigation systems and it is just beginning to recover.
- 8 Wakhan National Park – one of Afghanistan’s most isolated areas, with soaring mountains and unique cultures
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