Kabul is the capital of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as well as the largest city located in eastern section of the country.
Kabul is over 3,500 years old and many empires have controlled the city which is at a strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia. The city is believed to have been founded between 2000-1500BC. It is mentioned in Hinduism’s sacred Rig-Veda text (ca.1700-1100BC) as a vision of paradise set in the mountains. It was an important center of Zoroastrianism and later Buddhism. The city remained of little importance for much of the first three millennia of its existence. It was controlled variously by: the Persi ans, Alexander the Great, the Seleucid Empire, the Mauryan Empire, the Bactrian’s, various Hellenistic kingdoms, the Sassanid Empire, and by the 5th century AD was its own kingdom known as Kabul-Shahan. This last kingdom before the Islamic conquest built a large wall to protect the city from invasion when the Arabs arrived at the edge of the kingdom; parts of the wall have survived to this day and are visible above ground within the city.
Kabul’s climate is greatly influenced by its location in a valley at 1800m (5900ft). Summers (June-Sept) are hot and dry, averaging from the high 20s to the mid-30s (80-95F) with next to no precipitation. Autumn (Oct & Nov) is temperate and sees very little precipitation. Winters (Dec-Mar) are cold and the time of year which sees the most precipitation (mostly snow, but also ice, freezing rain, and sleet on warmer days). January is the coldest month, averaging 4/-7 (39/19F). Spring (late Mar-early June) is temperate with lots of rain tapering off by early May.
Kabul is a calm, secure and nice city which has so many sightseeing & historical places to visit during your trip. Following are few popular places for visiting the foreigners:
- Bagh-e Babur(Gardens of Babur). The gardens surround the tomb of the first Mughal Emperor Babur. Though he had wished to be buried
here, he was originally buried in Agra, and later moved to this spot. Historically, the gardens have been visited by Afghans for picnics and lazy afternoons. There is a swimming pool, a small mosque for prayers and a small museum among other things. 10 Af for locals, 250 Af for foreigners.
- Darul Aman Palace,At the end of Daral Aman road, south of the city, next to the Kabul museum. Originally built as King Amanullah’s Palace in the 1920s, it has been destroyed and rebuilt a few times over. Plans were unveiled a few years ago to renovate it once again although it is still in a state of crumbling disrepair on the verge of collapsing. Afs 200 or so bakshesh to the guard to look around inside the ruins.
- Kabul Zoo.6AM-6PM daily. The zoo is very popular with Afghans, and houses over 100 animals, albeit in relatively poor condition. China was once one of the main donors of animals in the zoo, but after the death of a few animals to disease and malnutrition, China has announced that there will be no donations until living conditions improve. ‘Marjan’ the lion, which was blinded by a grenade, was the main draw of the zoo, but has died recently. locals 10 Af for, 100 Af for foreigners.
- National Gallery of Afghanistan(Afghan National Gallery), Asamayi Watt (34°31’2.94N, 69°10’15.97E). 8am-ish to 4pm-ish, closed Fridays, and you may struggle to be allowed in on Thursday afternoons. A beautiful gallery in a charming old Kabul house that has been
carefully restored. The collection used to have some 820 paintings and portraits but 50% have been looted or destroyed; the director said the Taliban destroyed 210 portraits. Most of the collection is of European and Afghan landscapes and portraits of famous Afghan writers and kings and a portrait of the French writer Victor Hugo. Well worth making the effort to see. The Sultani Gallery is attached, but the opening hours are a mystery.
- National Museum of Afghanistan(Afghan National Museum), South Kabul, Darul Aman Road (several miles from the city center, across from Darulaman Palace). 10am-4pm weekdays, 9am-noon Fridays. The National Museum of Afghanistan once housed one of the greatest collections of Central Asian artifacts in the world. A large percentage of the previous collection was looted in the 1990s during Taliban rule after the upper floors of the museum were bombed. Many of the early Buddhist treasures were destroyed by the Taliban at the same time as the Bamiyan Buddhas. Looted items still turn up around the world at auctions. The museum is open once again, with far more modest, but still impressive, displays of early Buddhist and Islamic artifacts. Free, donations welcome.
- Paghman Gardens: is a very nice place with greenery and Kabul River is beside the garden, Its a tourist place with nice climate. Afghanistan’s independence gate (Taq e Zafar) is located in front of Paghman garden. Paghman Hill: it’s a tourist place at te top of the hill. Former King Zaher shah made it for the enjoyment of local people at the time of his kingdom and now it is a nice place with a pool and greenery and nice view.