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132 HERAT

RISK ASSESSMENT

Herat has traditionally been an area of peace and prosperity, but since the removal of Is- mail Khan it has exhibited regular signs of instability, including a number of bombs and riots. Although the city was calm at the time of going to press, check the situation before travelling. Iranian penetration of the city may also cause problems in the event of Western military activity towards Iran. The route northwest from Herat to Maim- ana should be avoided due to chronic law- lessness and anti-government armed groups in Badghis province, which is particularly remote. Attacks against police in the Bala Murghab district are common.

CLIMATE

Western Afghanistan feels a world away from the high peaks that otherwise domi- nate much of the country. Crossed by the low Safed Koh mountains, the land is flat and open, stretching out to the Iranian Plateau and Central Asian steppe. The cli- mate is accordingly hot and dry, dominated around Herat by the Bad-e Sad o Bist (Wind of 120 Days) that blows from the end of spring to the start of autumn, carrying a desiccating dust. Summer temperatures can reach 38°C, dropping to just below freezing from December to February.

GETTING THERE & AWAY

Transport connections around the north- west and to the rest of Afghanistan can be patchy. From Herat, the highway to Kabul runs through the restive south via Kanda- har, making travel extremely dangerous for foreigners. Alternative road routes are challenging for different reasons: either the central route through the Hindu Kush to Bamiyan, or the northwest route to Mai- mana, Andkhoi and Shiberghan along prob- ably the worst road in the country. Both choices are rough and uncomfortable rides, and highly susceptible to the changing sea- sons. Andkhoi and Shiberghan are both on the tarmac highway to Mazar-e Sharif. Daily flights link Herat and Kabul, with

regular flights between Herat and Mazar-e Sharif, as well as a less reliable service linking Maimana and Shiberghan to the capital.

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Cross-border travel is relatively straight- forward, with direct bus links connecting Herat to Mashhad in Iran. Onward travel to Turkmenistan is possible, although the paperwork and permits can take some arranging.

HERAT

تاﺮﻫ

x040 / pop 250,000

Perhaps more than any other city in Af- ghanistan, Herat speaks of the country’s position at the heart of the Silk Road. At the crossroads of trade routes leading to the Middle East, Central Asia and India, Herat has often been coveted by neighbouring powers as a valuable prize. It has flourished throughout history as a rich city-state, a centre of learning and commerce and even one-time capital of the Timurid empire. Such history has given the city a cultured air of independence that can sometimes make Kabul seem a long way away. In the 1970s, Herat was a popular stop on the Hippy Trail for its relaxed air, and rightly so. Herat’s place in history has often been

overlooked in favour of Samarkand and Bukhara, but its inhabitants are proud of their past and the city’s reputation as a place of culture. Although many of the monuments to Herat’s glorious past are in a sorry state, ruined by British and Russian invaders, the city is still the most rewarding sightseeing location in Afghanistan. With its Friday Mosque the city still possesses one of the greatest buildings in the Islamic world, while the Old City is one of the few in Afghanistan to retain its medieval street plan. Herat’s post-Taliban recovery has been

less rocky than other parts of the country, due in no small part to the customs rev- enues from trade with nearby Iran. Visitors coming from Kabul will instantly notice the difference: a reliable power supply, street- lights and public parks. Although street crime can occasionally be a problem, it sud- denly seems remarkable to see families out on the streets at 10pm going to ice-cream parlours.

Things haven’t been a bed of roses, how-

ever. Despite his removal by Hamid Kar- zai, Herat’s longtime ‘amir’ Ismail Khan continues to dominate the city’s political

Herat

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HERAT 133

NORTHWESTERN AFGHANISTAN HERAT &

HERAT

To Jami’s Tomb (2km)

17 16 19 18

INFORMATION

Western Union....................(see 4) Valentin Internet Club......... C3 Turkmenistan Consulate....... E3 Post Office............................. F2 Police.................................... D4 Moneychangers..................... B3 Microsoft Internet.................. E3 Lord Coffeenet....................... E3 Kabul Bank............................ D3 Iran Consulate........................ E3 Herat Hospital....................... D3 ATO...................................... D3

11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

20

To Torghundi (121km)

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES

Mausoleum of Gowhar Shad...... B1 Mausoleum Minaret................... B1 Malik Cistern.............................. B3 Herat Citadel.............................. B3 Friday Mosque........................... C4 Chahar Su Cistern...................... B4

17 16 15 14 13 12

Complex................................. Minarets of Musalla

SLEEPING

Jam Hotel.................................. C4 Green Place Guest House........... E2

22 21

Shahzada Abdullah..................... B2 Mosque Minaret........................ A1 B1

20 19 18

Park Hotel.............................. F4 Mowafaq Hotel..................... C3 Marco Polo Hotel.................. D4

25 24 23

EATING

Supermarket........................(see 23) Shahiste Restaurant.............(see 23) Khorram Borthers Store.......... C3 Kebab sellers.......................... D4 Juice in 4 Fasl......................... C3 Ice Cream Parlour................... B4 Restaurant......................... D4 Brothers Mohabbat Gaznavi Arghawan Restaurant............ D3 Al Capon Restaurant.............. E4

27 26

32 31 30 29 28

Yas Restaurant....................... F3 Toos Restaurant..................... E3

34 33

SHOPPING

Sultan Hamidy....................... C4 Carpet Merchants.................. C4

36 35

TRANSPORT

Taxis to Islam Qala................. B3 Taxis & Buses to Airport........ D4 Taxis...................................... B4 Kam Air................................. C3 Ariana Afghan Airlines........... C3

41 40 39 38 37

Buses...............................(see 42) Ticket Office for Mashad

Transport to Torghundi..........42 B2jad-e Mahbas

21

HERAT

42

To Maimana (3km); Islam Qala (140km)

7 41

Darb Malik

15 14

Citadel

Park-e Girdha

36 39 29

Old City

22

Darb I Iraq

Chahar Su

12 35 40

Market

28

31 jad-e Badmurghan

Darb Khosh

23 26

To Pul-e Malan (2.5km); Main Bus Station (3.5km; Airport (8.5km); Kandahar (565km)

13 8 25

Chowk-e Gulha

30

To Obey (105km); Minaret of Jam (320km); Maimana (460km)

24 38 37

Park-e Gulha

32 11 4

jad-e Walayat

27

Chowk-e Cinema

Sarakh-e Mukhabarat

1 2 6 5 3 10 33 34

charahi Mostofiat

Stadium

9

0 0

500 m 0.3 miles

To Takht-e Safar (1.5km); 1001 Wight Restaurant (1.8km)

To Gazar Gah (2km)

NORTHWESTERN AFGHANISTAN HERAT &

Bazaar-e Malek Zagarha

jad-e Ghomandani

jad-e Bank Khun

jad-e Bihzad jad-e Lycee Mahri

S a r a k h - e S h

h ahz a d a

jad-e Bag

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