• Nepal!

    Nepal: Phewa Lake. Go Now!

    This landlocked country mixes the cultures of the Indian sub-continent with the high Himalayas. Explore Nepal!

  • Japan!

    Japan: Traditional foods. Go Now!

    Japan has a rich culture that is visible today in the country's dress, architecture, language, food (pictured), and lifestyle. Begin Your Journey!

  • Bahrain!

    Bahrain: Desert. Go Now!

    This tiny country has overcome the desert and has found a way to thrive, like this tree on al Jazair Beach. Explore Bahrain!

  • Laos!

    Laos: Karst peak. Go Now!

    The simplicity and natural beauty of the countryside make Laos a hidden gem in Southeast Asia overlooked by most travelers. Begin Your Journey!

  • Tajikistan!

    Tajikistan: A yurt in the mountains. Go Now!

    The high mountains have mysteries around every turn, including yurts (pictured), a home for the nomadic people. Go Now!

Architecture of Afghanistan

WARNING: Afghanistan is currently unstable, please read this travel warning before going!

Much of Afghanistan's most historic and impressive architecture has been destroyed. Among the earliest influences on the region's architecture are both Islamic and Buddhist structures. In the 500s the Buddhas of Bamiyan were created; these Buddhas are carved into a rock cliff. Unfortunately, these were destroyed by the Taliban government in 2001.

Among the earliest Islamic architectural monuments is the Minaret of Jam (1190s). This brick structure was covered in stucco and tiled. It is highly symbolic of early Afghan architecture and even to this day many of the country's structures have aspects of this minaret, including the heavy tiling, which was made famous by the Timurids and Mughals.

This influence continued for centuries and one of the country's most impressive structures has many similarities: the Shrine of Hazrat Ali (or the Blue Mosque) in Mazar-i-Sharif. This location has been home to shrines and mosques for over a thousand years, but the shrine today owns its form and structure to the 1400s and much of its decoration to the 1900s and 2000s.

Sadly, little else has been built in Afghanistan that today is still standing and is worthy of mention. Falling under numerous foreign rulers the region never received great wealth, influence, or money to build large and lasting monuments. Only the city of Kabul has added a great number of structures in recent centuries.

Kabul is home to numerous ruins and buildings of note, from Mughal Emperor Babur's tomb to the Id Gah Mosque (1893). There are also a number of mosques, bazaars, and historic neighborhoods that are more symbolic of the country's architecture.

After the overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001, there has been little built of note although the country is slowly gaining some modern and post-modern buildings, particularly in the capital of Kabul.

This page was last updated: July, 2012