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130

Herat & Northwestern Afghanistan

نﺎﺘﺴﻧﺎﻐﻓا بﺮﻏ لﺎﻤﺷ و تاﺮﻫ

‘Khorasan is the oyster shell of the world, and Herat is its pearl’, says an old proverb, referring to this Afghan city’s pre-eminence in a region that covered much of medieval Iran and Turkmenistan. It’s a saying that still holds much truth, for Herat still shines as the cultural centre of Afghanistan, a seat of poetry, learning and architecture. Invaders from Genghis Khan to the Russians have all taken turns at flattening it, but Herat still manages to hold its head high, offer its visitors tea and suggest they sample its attrac- tions. And there’s much to take in, from the Citadel that towers over the Old City to its glorious Friday Mosque and many shrines. Those coming from Kabul will be equally amazed by the efficiency of its infrastructure, not least the electricity supply.

From this ancient Silk Road oasis, the road crosses the Safed Koh mountains – the last outpost of the Hindu Kush – to reach the northwest. Here the land flattens out to form part of the Central Asian steppe, a semidesert that’s home to Kuchi nomads and Turkmen and Uzbek farmers. This is the main centre for the greatest of the country’s folk arts, the Afghan carpet, and the bright swatches of knotted wool contrast sharply with the dusty landscape that produces them.

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NORTHWESTERN AFGHANISTAN 131

HIGHLIGHTS

 Gaze in awe at the dazzling mosaic tiling of the Friday Mosque ( p136 ) in Herat

 Contemplate poetry with the Sufis at Gazar Gah ( p138 ), one of Afghanistan’s holiest sites

 Climb the battlements of Herat’s Citadel ( p137 ) for sweeping views across the city

 Haggle for carpets at the bazaar in And- khoi ( p144 ), the northwest’s most tradi- tional market town

Gazar Gah Herat

Andkhoi

Northwestern Afghanistan

NORTHWESTERN AFGHANISTAN HERAT &

NORTHWESTERN AFGHANISTAN HERAT &

NORTHWESTERN AFGHANISTAN

Tedzhen

Ovaz-Dzhaltay Dzhu- Mary Dzhu-klu Murgab

To Mary (25km)

Dushak

Jowzjan

Chahar Bagh Miana Akhchadepe Chahchaheh Sarakhs

Tabakdan Kanavis

Mozduran

Shurak Maleki

Natu Mari Chaq Fariman Turkmenkarakul

To

Mashhad (225km)

I R A N

Badghis

Torbat-e jam Chalkhi Shahr-e now Kariz Salami Taybad

Islam Qala

Kansan Sangan Majnabad Ghurian Shekiban Zendeh Jan

To Kandahar (500km);

Kabul (988km)

Kort Harirud

Herat

Marveh Tagab Eshlan Qaleh-ye

Herat

Torghundi Golran Tutachi Kushki

Khwaja Gul Bed Do Ab

Qala-e Nau

Ab-i Barik- i Qudi

Deh Berenj Qaleh

Benos Darrah

Karukh Kusurmand Obey

Gunabad

Sabzak Pass (2400m)

Chist-e Sharif

of Jam Minaret

Ghowr

Masjed Negar Qos Tirdawan Qocanghi Khwazagak Besa Khar Bid Syahkhaki Dowlat Yar Chaghcheran Badgah

Lal-o-Sar Jangal

To

Bamiyan (200km)

Darrahe Awd Serkhetabat

Darreh- ye Bum

Bala Murghab Tuta Gazak Ghormach Chechaktu Qaysar Sar-e Howz

Faryab

Serakhs Sary Yazy Daulatabad Krasnaya Zvezda

T U R K M E N I S T A N

Andkhoi

Yusof Mirzai Khvajeh

Do Kuh Shiberghan

Dasht-e Laili Desert

Yangi Aregh

Pashmi Qaleh

To Mazar-e

Sharif (50km); Kabul (480km)

Chub Bash-e Kalan

Qarchi Gak Aqcha Fazelabad Krasnyy Oktyabr Iolotan Imam Nazar

Bayram-ali

0 0

Mukry Qarqin Dali

Balkh

Karlyuk

200 km 120 miles

Ortepa

Malay- Adzhi

Yangi Qaleh

Takhta Bazar

Almar

Maimana

Belcheragh Qurchi Jarghan Khaval

Sar-e Pol

Tarkhoj

Bakhtgan- e Bala

Sari Pul

Kariz

H

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