Herat

Herat

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Herāt is the capital of Herat province
Herat Province
Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan; together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country...

 in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert
Karakum Desert
The Karakum Desert, also spelled Kara-Kum and Gara Gum is a desert in Central Asia. It occupies about 70 percent, or 350,000 km², of the area of Turkmenistan....

 in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

. The city is linked with Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 and Mazar-e-Sharif via highway 1 or the ring road that stretches across the country. It is also linked to the city of Mashad in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 through the Islam Qala
Islam Qala
Islam Qala , also transliterated Eslam Qaleh, Eslam Qala or Islam Kala, also known as Kafar Qaleh, is a border town in the western Herat province of Afghanistan, on the border with Iran...

 border town
Border town
A border town is a town or city close to the boundary between two countries, states or regions. Usually the term implies that it is one of the things the town is most famous for. Border towns can have highly cosmopolitan communities, a feature they share with port cities...

 or border checkpoint
Border checkpoint
A border checkpoint is a place, generally between two countries, where travellers and/or goods are inspected. Authorization often is required to enter a country through its borders. Access-controlled borders often have a limited number of checkpoints where they can be crossed without legal...

.

Situated in a fertile area, Herāt dates back to the Avestan times
Avestan geography
Avestan geography, is the geographical references in the Avesta, which are limited to the regions on the eastern Iranian plateau up to Indo-Iranian border...

 and was traditionally known for its wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

. The city has a number of historic sites, including the Citadel of Alexander and the Mosallah Complex. During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 Herāt became one of the important cities of Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

, as it was known as the pearl of Khorasan. It was made independent in 1717 from the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 by the Afghan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

s until 1736 when the Hotaki dynasty was defeated by the Afsharids
Afsharid dynasty
The Afsharids were members of an Iranian dynasty of Turkmen origin from Khorasan who ruled Persia in the 18th century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the military commander Nader Shah who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself King of Iran. During Nader's reign,...

, which finally became part of the Durrani Empire
Durrani Empire
The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun dynasty centered in Afghanistan and included northeastern Iran, the Kashmir region, the modern state of Pakistan, and northwestern India. It was established at Kandahar in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief...

 in 1747. It saw some actions during the 19th century Anglo-Afghan wars
Anglo-Afghan War
Anglo-Afghan War may refer to:*First Anglo-Afghan War *Second Anglo-Afghan War *Third Anglo-Afghan War -See also:* European influence in Afghanistan where the backdrop for the three wars mentioned above are discussed....

. Much of the city has been spared from destructions that occurred in other cities of Afghanistan during the 1978-present wars.

Herāt lies on the ancient trade routes of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, Central
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. The roads from Herāt to Iran, Turkmenistan, and other parts of Afghanistan are still strategically important. As the gateway to Iran, it collects the highest amount of customs revenue for Afghanistan. The city has an airport which is planned to be turned into an international airport
International airport
An international airport is any airport that can accommodate flights from other countries and are typically equipped with customs and immigration facilities to handle these flights to and from other countries...

.

History



Herat dates back to ancient times, but its exact age remains unknown. During the period of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 (ca. 550-330 BC), the surrounding district was known as Haraiva
Haraiva
Haraiva is the ancient Old Persian name for the area around Herat, in northwest Afghanistan....

(in Old Persian), and in classical sources the region was correspondingly known as Aria (Areia). In the Zoroastrian Avesta
Avesta
The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language.-Early transmission:The texts of the Avesta — which are all in the Avestan language — were composed over the course of several hundred years. The most important portion, the Gathas,...

, the district is mentioned as Haroiva. The name of the district and its main town is derived from that of the chief river of the region, the Hari River (Old Iranian Harayu, "Golden Water"), which traverses the district and passes some 5 km (3.1 mi) south of modern Herāt. Hari is mentioned in Sanskrit as yellow or golden color equivalent to Persian Zar meaning Gold (yellow). The naming of a region and its principal town after the main river is a common feature in this part of the world—compare the adjoining districts/rivers/towns of Arachosia
Arachosia
Arachosia is the Latinized form of the Greek name of an Achaemenid and Seleucid governorate in the eastern part of their respective empires, around modern-day southern Afghanistan. The Greek term "Arachosia" corresponds to the Iranian land of Harauti which was between Kandahar in Afghanistan and...

 and Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

.
The district Aria of the Persian Achaemenid Empire is mentioned in the provincial lists that are included in various royal inscriptions, for instance, in the Behistun inscription
Behistun Inscription
The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون...

 of Darius I (ca. 520 BC). Representatives from the district are depicted in reliefs, e.g., at the royal Achaemenid tombs of Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam also referred to as Necropolis is an archaeological site located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars province, Iran. Naqsh-e Rustam lies a few hundred meters from Naqsh-e Rajab....

 and Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

. They are wearing Scythian-style dress (with a tunic
Tunic
A tunic is any of several types of clothing for the body, of various lengths reaching from the shoulders to somewhere between the hips and the ankles...

 and trousers
Trousers
Trousers are an item of clothing worn on the lower part of the body from the waist to the ankles, covering both legs separately...

 tucked into high boots
Boot
A boot is a type of footwear but they are not shoes. Most boots mainly cover the foot and the ankle and extend up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece....

) and a twisted Bashlyk
Bashlyk
A bashlyk, also spelled Bashlik / "-lık" - derivative suffix), is a traditional Iranian, Turkic and Cossack cone-shaped headdress hood, usually of leather, felt or wool, an ancient round topped felt bonnet with lappets for wrapping around the neck. Local versions of determine the trim, which may...

 that covers their head, chin and neck.
]

Hamdallah Mustawfi, composer of the 14th century work The Geographical Part of the Nuzhat-al-Qulub writes that:
Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 described Herāt as the bread-basket of Central Asia. At the time of Alexander the Great, Aria was obviously an important district. It was administered by a satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

 called Satibarzanes
Satibarzanes
Satibarzanes , a Persian, was satrap of Aria under Darius III, king of Persia.In 330 BC, Alexander the Great, marching through the borders of Aria on his way from Hyrcania against the Parthians, was met at a city named Susia by Satibarzanes, who made submission to him, and was rewarded for it by...

, who was one of the three main Persian officials in the East of the Empire, together with the satrap Bessus
Bessus
Artaxerxes V, also known as Bessus was a prominent Persian nobleman and satrap of Bactria, and later self-proclaimed king of Persia...

 of Bactria and Barsaentes of Arachosia. In late 330 BC, Alexander the Great captured the Arian capital that was called Artacoana
Artacoana
Artacoana or Artacana or Articaudna or Chortacana or Artacaena, name of the capital of Aria, an eastern satrapy of the Persian empire....

. The town was rebuilt and the citadel was constructed. It became part of the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 but was captured by others on various occasions and became part of the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

 in 167 BC.

In the Sasanian period (226-652), Harēv is listed in an inscription on the Ka'ba-i Zartosht at Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam also referred to as Necropolis is an archaeological site located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars province, Iran. Naqsh-e Rustam lies a few hundred meters from Naqsh-e Rajab....

; and Hariy is mentioned in the Pahlavi
Pahlavi dynasty
The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi (reg. 1925–1941) and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty ...

 catalogue of the provincial capitals of the empire. In around 430, the town is also listed as having a Christian community, with a Nestorian bishop.

In the last two centuries of Sasanian rule, Aria (Herāt) had great strategic importance in the endless wars between the Sasanians, the Chionites and the Hephthalites who had been settled in modern northern Afghanistan since the late 4th century.

Islamization




At the time of the Arab invasion in the middle of the 7th century, the Sasanian central power seemed already largely nominal in the province in contrast with the role of the Hephthalites tribal lords, who were settled in the Herat region and in the neighboring districts, mainly in pastoral Bādghis
Badghis Province
Bādghīs is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in northwestern Afghanistan, between the Murghab and Hari rivers, extending as far northward as the edge of the desert of Sarakhs. It includes the Chul formations through which the Turkmen-Afghan boundary runs...

 and in Qohestān
Quhistan
Quhistan or Kohistan was a region of medieval Persia, essentially the southern part of Greater Khorasan. Its boundaries appear to have been indeterminate, and the term generally seems to have been applied loosely....

. It must be underlined, however, that Herat remained one of the three Sasanian mint centers in the East, the other two being Balkh
Balkh Province
Balkh is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country and its name derives from the ancient city of Balkh, near the modern town...

 and Marv
Marv
Marv is a fictional character in the graphic novel series Sin City, created by Frank Miller. In the 2005 film adaptation, he is played by Mickey Rourke. He first appears in The Hard Goodbye and follows with appearances in A Dame to Kill For, Just Another Saturday Night, and Silent Night...

. The Hephthalites from Herat and some unidentified Turks opposed the Arab forces in a battle of Qohestān in 651-52 AD, trying to block their advance on Nishāpur
Nishapur
Nishapur or Nishabur , is a city in the Razavi Khorasan province in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Binalud Mountains, near the regional capital of Mashhad...

, but they were defeated.

When the Arab armies appeared in Khorāsān
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

 in the 650s AD, Herāt was counted among the twelve capital towns of the Sasanian Empire. The Arab army under the general command of Ahnaf ibn Qais in its conquest of Khorāsān in 652 seems to have avoided Herāt, but it can be assumed that the city submitted to the Arabs, since shortly afterwards an Arab governor is mentioned there. A treaty was drawn including the regions of Bādghis and Bushanj. As did many other places in Khorāsān, Herāt rebelled and had to be re-conquered several times. In 702 AD Yzid ibn al-Muhallab defeated certain Arab rebels, followers of Ibn al-Ash'ath, and forced them out of Herat. The city was the scene of conflicts between different groups of Muslims and Arab tribes in the disorders leading to the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate. Herat was also a centre of the followers of Ustadh Sis
Ustadh Sis
Ustadh Sis was a Persian heresiarch and anti-Arab rebel leader.His name in Persian means Master of Sis...

.

Pearl of Khorasan



The region of Herāt was under the rule of King Nuh III, the seventh of the Samanid line—at the time of Sebük Tigin
Sebük Tigin
Abu Mansur Sabuktigin , also spelled as Sabuktagin, Sabuktakin, Sebüktegin and Sebük Tigin, is generally regarded by historians as the founder of the Ghaznavid Empire...

 and his older son, Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni , actually ', was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty who ruled from 997 until his death in 1030 in the eastern Iranian lands. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazni into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Iran,...

. The governor of Herāt was a noble by the name of Faik, who was appointed by Nuh III. It is said that Faik was a powerful, but insubordinate governor of Nuh III; and had been punished by Nuh III. Faik made overtures to Bogra Khan
Bogra Khan
Bogra Khan Ilak was an ethnic Turkish sovereign who reigned in the latter part of the 10th century over Kashgar, Khotan and other countries inter-weaning between Transoxiana and the Chinese frontier...

 and Ughar Khan of Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

. Bogra Khan answered Faik's call, came to Herāt and became its ruler. The Samanids fled, betrayed at the hands of Faik to whom the defence of Herāt had been entrusted by Nuh III. In 994, Nuh III invited Alp Tigin to come to his aid. Alp Tigin, along with Mahmud of Ghazni, defeated Faik and annexed Herāt, Nishapur
Nishapur
Nishapur or Nishabur , is a city in the Razavi Khorasan province in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Binalud Mountains, near the regional capital of Mashhad...

 and Tous
Tous
Tous may refer to:* Trotskyist Organization of the United States an American Trotskyite group* Berd, Armenia* Tous, Iran* Tous, Valencia, Spain* Tous Designer House Spanish Designer Jewelry...

.
]


Herāt was a great trading centre strategically located on trade routes from Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 or to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. The city was noted for its textiles during the Abbasid Caliphate, according to many references in the geographers. Herāt also had many learned sons such as Ansārī. The city is described by Estakhri
Estakhri
Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Farisi al Istakhri was a medieval Persian geographer in the 10th century.-Career:...

 and Ibn Hawqal
Ibn Hawqal
Muḥammad Abū’l-Qāsim Ibn Ḥawqal was a 10th century Muslim writer, geographer, and chronicler. His famous work, written in 977, is called Ṣūrat al-’Arḍ ....

 in the 10th century as a prosperous town surrounded by strong walls with plenty of water sources, extensive suburbs, an inner citadel, a congregational mosque, and four gates, each gate opening to a thriving market place. The government building was outside the city at a distance of about a mile in a place called Khorāsānābād. A church was still visible in the countryside northeast of the town on the road to Balkh
Balkh
Balkh , was an ancient city and centre of Zoroastrianism in what is now northern Afghanistan. Today it is a small town in the province of Balkh, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some south of the Amu Darya. It was one of the major cities of Khorasan...

, and farther away on a hilltop stood a flourishing fire temple
Fire temple
A fire temple in Zoroastrianism is the place of worship for Zoroastrians. Zoroastrians revere fire in any form. In the Zoroastrian religion, fire , together with clean water , are agents of ritual purity...

, called Sereshk, or Arshak according to Mustawfi.

Herat was a part of the Taherid
Tahirid dynasty
The Tahirid Dynasty, was a Persian dynasty that governed from 820 to 872 over the northeastern part of Greater Iran, in the region of Khorasan . The dynasty was founded by Tahir ibn Husayn, a leading general in the service of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun...

 dominion in Khorāsān until the rise of the Saffarids
Saffarid dynasty
The Saffarids or the Saffarid dynasty was a Persian empire which ruled in Sistan , a historical region in southeastern Iran, southwestern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan...

 in Sistān
Sistan
Sīstān is a border region in eastern Iran , southwestern Afghanistan and northern tip of Southwestern Pakistan .-Etymology:...

 under Ya'qub-i Laith in 861, who, in 862, started launching raids on Herat before besieging and capturing it on 16 August 867, and again in 872. The Saffarids succeeded in expelling the Taherids from Khorasan in 873.

The Sāmānid dynasty was established in Transoxiana
Transoxiana
Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgystan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers...

 by three brothers, Nuh, Yahyā
Yahya ibn Asad
Yahya was a Samanid ruler of Shash and Samarkand . He was a son of Asad.In 819 Yahya was granted authority over the city of Shash by Caliph Al-Ma'mun's governor of Khurasan, Ghassan ibn 'Abbad, as a reward for his support against the rebel Rafi' ibn Laith...

, and Ahmad. Ahmad Sāmāni opened the way for the Samanid dynasty to the conquest of Khorāsān, including Herāt, which they were to rule for one century. The centralized Samanid administration served as a model for later dynasties. The Samanid power was destroyed in 999 by the Qarakhanids, who were advancing on Transoxiana from the northeast, and by the Ghaznavids, former Samanid retainers, attacking from the southeast.

Sultan Maḥmud of Ghazni officially took control of Khorāsān in 998. Herat was one of the six Ghaznavid mints in the region. In 1040, Herat was captured by the Seljuk Empire. Yet, in 1175, it was captured by the Ghurids of Ghor and then came under the Khawarazm Empire. According to the account of Mustawfi, Herat flourished especially under the Ghurid dynasty in the 12th century. Mustawfi reported that there were "359 colleges in Herat, 12,000 shops all fully occupied, 6,000 bath-houses; besides caravanserais and mills, also a darwish
Darwish
Darwish and Darvish are alternate transliterations of the Persian word "dervish", used in , referring to a Sufi aspirant. There is no v sound in most Modern Arabic dialects and so the originally Persian word is usually pronounced with a w sound in Arabic...

 convent
Convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

 and a fire temple". There were about 444,000 houses occupied by a settled population. The men were described as "warlike and carry arms", and they were Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s. The great mosque of Herāt
Friday Mosque of Herat
The Friday Mosque of Herat , also known as the Jumah Mosque, is a mosque in the city of Herat, in the Herat Province of north-western Afghanistan. It was built by the Timurids and extended by several rulers swapping hands down the centuries between the Timurids, Safavids, Mughals and the Uzbeks all...

 was built by Ghiyas ad-Din Ghori
Ghiyas ad-Din Ghori
Ghiyāṣ ad-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Sām , commonly referred to as Ghiyāṣ ad-Dīn Ghōrī, was a ruler of the 12th century Ghorid dynasty in The Ghurid Empire which encompassed Khorāsān, Afghanistan and extended into Pakistan, northern and central India all the way to Bengal. He fought with the Khwarezmid...

 in 1201. In this period Herāt became an important center for the production of metal goods, especially in bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

, often decorated with elaborate inlays in precious metals.

Herāt was invaded and destroyed by Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

's Mongol army
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 in 1221. The city was destroyed a second time and remained in ruins from 1222 to about 1236. In 1244 a local prince Shams al-Din Kart was named ruler of Herāt by the Mongol governor of Khorāsān and in 1255 he was confirmed in his rule by the founder of the Il-Khan dynasty
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

 Hulagu
Hulagu Khan
Hulagu Khan, also known as Hülegü, Hulegu , was a Mongol ruler who conquered much of Southwest Asia...

. Shams al-Din founded a new dynasty and his successors, especially Fakhr-al-Din and Ghiyath al-Din, built many mosques and other buildings. The members of this dynasty were great patrons of literature and the arts. By this time Herāt became known as the pearl of Khorasan.

Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

 took Herat in 1380 and he brought the Kartid dynasty
Kartids
The Kartid Dynasty was a Persian dynasty that ruled over a large part of Khorassan during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 to an end a few years later, but the city reached its greatest glory under the Timurid princes
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

, especially Sultan Husayn Bayqara
Husayn Bayqarah
Husayn Bayqarah was a Timurid ruler of Herat from 1469 to 1506, with a brief interruption in 1470. His father was Mansur, a great-grandson of Timur...

 who ruled Herat from 1469 to 912/1506. His chief minister, the poet and author in Persian and Turkish, Mir Ali-Shir Nava'i was a great builder and patron of the arts. Under the Timurids, Herat assumed the role of the main capital of an empire that extended in the West as far as central Persia. As the capital of the Timurid empire, it boasted many fine religious buildings and was famous for its sumptuous court life and musical performance and its tradition of miniature paintings. On the whole, the period was one of relative stability, prosperity, and development of economy and cultural activities. It began with the nomination of Shahrokh
Shah Rukh (Timurid dynasty)
Shāhrukh Mīrzā was the ruler of the eastern portion of the empire established by the Central Asian warlord Timur - the founder of the Timurid dynasty - governing most of Persia and Transoxiana between 1405 and 1447...

, the youngest son of Timur, as governor of Herat in 1397. The reign of Shahrokh in Herat was marked by intense royal patronage, building activities, and promotion of manufacturing and trade, especially through the restoration and enlargement of the Herat’s bāzār. The present Mosalla Complex, and many buildings such as the madrasa of Goharshad
Goharshad
Goharshād was a wife of Shāh Rukh, the emperor of the Timurid Dynasty of Herāt. She was the daughter of Giāth ud-Din Tarkhān, an important and influential noble during Tīmur's reign...

, Ali Shir mahāl, many gardens, and others, date from this time. The village of Gazargah, over two km northeast of Herat, contained a shrine which was enlarged and embellished under the Timurids. The tomb of the poet and mystic Khwājah Abdullāh Ansārī (d. 1088), was first rebuilt by Shahrokh about 1425, and other famous men were buried in the shrine area.

In 1507 Herat was occupied by the Uzbeks but after much fighting the city was taken by Shah Isma'il
Ismail I
Ismail I , known in Persian as Shāh Ismāʿil , was a Shah of Iran and the founder of the Safavid dynasty which survived until 1736. Isma'il started his campaign in Azerbaijan in 1500 as the leader of the Safaviyya, an extremist heterodox Twelver Shi'i militant religious order and unified all of Iran...

, the founder of the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

, in 1510 and the Shamlu Qizilbash assumed the governorship of the area. Under the Safavids, Herat was again relegated to the position of a provincial capital, albeit one of a particular importance. At the death of Shah Isma'il the Uzbeks again took Herat and held it until Shah Tahmasp
Tahmasp I
Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty...

 retook it in 1528. Several times later for brief periods the Uzbeks held the city but the Safavids ruled it most of the time until the revolt of the Ghilzai and Abdali Afghans
Durrani
Durrani or Abdali is the name of a chief Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali later as Durrani they have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durranis are estimated to be roughly 16%...

 in 1716. Several Safavid expeditions to retake the city failed, and the Abdalis remained in possession of the city until 1736 when they submitted to Nader Shah
Nader Shah
Nāder Shāh Afshār ruled as Shah of Iran and was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty. Because of his military genius, some historians have described him as the Napoleon of Persia or the Second Alexander...

. In 1747 the nephew of Nader Shah, one Aliqoli Khan, revolted in Herat but after Nader's death in that year Herat fell under Afghan rule.

Hotaki dynasty and Durrani Empire




From 1725 to 1736 Herat was controlled by the Hotaki dynasty until Nader Shah's takeover. After Nader Shah's death in 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

 took possession of the city and became part of the Durrani Empire
Durrani Empire
The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun dynasty centered in Afghanistan and included northeastern Iran, the Kashmir region, the modern state of Pakistan, and northwestern India. It was established at Kandahar in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief...

. Ahmad Shah Durrani's father, Zaman Khan, was the governor of Herat province before the Ghilzai's conquer of the region. Zaman Khan and several of his family members were killed while his son Ahmad Khan (Durrani) and Zulfiqar Khan were taken as prisoners to Kandahar in the south.
In 1824, Herat became independent for several years when the Afghan empire was split between the Durrani
Durrani
Durrani or Abdali is the name of a chief Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali later as Durrani they have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durranis are estimated to be roughly 16%...

s and the Barakzais. Qajars of Persia tried to take city from the Durranis in 1852 and again in 1856; both times the British helped to repel the Persians, the second time through the Anglo-Persian War
Anglo-Persian War
The Anglo-Persian War lasted between November 1, 1856 and April 4, 1857, and was fought between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Persia . In the war, the British opposed an attempt by Persia to reacquire the city of Herat...

. The city fell to Dost Mohammad Khan
Dost Mohammad Khan
Dost Mohammad Khan was the Emir of Afghanistan between 1826 and 1863. He first ruled from 1826 to 1839 and then from 1843 to 1863. He was the 11th son of Sardar Pāyendah Khan who was killed by Zaman Shah Durrani in 1799...

 of the Barakzai dynasty in 1863. Most of the Musallah complex in Herat was cleared in 1885 by the British army to get a good line of sight for their artillery against Russian invaders who never came. This was but one small sidetrack in the Great Game, a century-long conflict between the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in 19th century.

In the 1960s, engineers from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 built Herat Airport, which was used by the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 forces during the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was a government of Afghanistan between 1978 and 1992. It was both ideologically close to and economically dependent on the Soviet Union, and was a major belligerent of the Afghan Civil War.- Saur Revolution :...

 in the 1980s. Even before the Soviet invasion
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 at the end of 1979, there was a substantial presence of Soviet advisors in the city with their families. Between March 10 to 20 in 1979, Afghan army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 in Herāt under the control of Ismail Khan
Ismail Khan
Ismail Khan is a politician and former mujahideen commander from Afghanistan. Born in the western Afghan city of Herat, he rose to become a powerful rebel commander during in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, and then a key member of the Northern Alliance until finally becoming the Governor of Herat...

 mutinied. Reprisals by the Afghan government followed, and between 3,000 and 5,000 people were killed. The city itself was recaptured with tanks and airborne forces
Airborne forces
Airborne forces are military units, usually light infantry, set up to be moved by aircraft and 'dropped' into battle. Thus they can be placed behind enemy lines, and have an ability to deploy almost anywhere with little warning...

.
Ismail Khan became the leading mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

 commander in Herāt. After the departure of the Soviets, he became governor of Herat Province
Herat Province
Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan; together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country...

. In September 1995 the city was captured by the Taliban without much resistance, forcing Ismail Khan to flee. However, after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, on November 12, 2001, it was liberated from the Taliban by forces loyal to the Northern Alliance
Northern Alliance
The Afghan Northern Alliance is a military-political umbrella organization created by the Islamic State of Afghanistan in 1996.Northern Alliance may also refer to:*Northern Alliance , a Canadian white supremacist group...

 and Ismail Khan returned to power (see Battle of Herat
Battle of Herat
The 2001 uprising in Herat was a coordinated insurrection and uprising in the Afghan city of Herat as part of the United States war in Afghanistan. The city was captured on November 12 by Northern Alliance forces as well as Special Forces of both the United States and the Islamic Republic of...

). In 2004, Mirwais Sadiq
Mirwais Sadiq
Mirwais Sadiq was the Civil Aviation Minister of Afghanistan and the son of the Ismail Khan, who was then the governor of Herat Province....

, Aviation Minister of Afghanistan and the son of Ismail Khan, was ambushed and killed in Herāt by a local rival group. More than 200 people were arrested under suspicion of involvement.
Herāt is now fully under the control of Afghanistan's new central government, led by Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

, who was initially backed by the United States. The Afghan National Army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 and the Afghan National Police
Afghan National Police
The Afghan National Police - ANP - is the primary national police force in Afghanistan. It serves as a single law enforcement agency all across the country. The Afghan police force was first created with the establishment of the Afghan nation in the early 18th century...

 provide security in the city as well as the whole province. There is also presence of the International Security Assistance Force
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 (ISAF) forces in the area, which is led by Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and assisting the Military of Afghanistan
Military of Afghanistan
The military of Afghanistan is composed of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Army Air Force . Being a landlocked country, Afghanistan has no navy, and the private security forces who are sometimes seen wearing military uniforms are not part of Afghanistan's military...

. Herat was one of the first seven areas that transitioned security responsibility from NATO to Afghanistan. On July 21, 2011, Afghan security forces assumed lead security responsibility from NATO. On the occasion, Minister of Defense Wardak told the audience, “this is our national responsibility to take over our security and defend our country."

Due to their close connection, Iran began investing in the development of Herat's power, economy and education sectors. As a result, the city now enjoys 24-hour electricity, paved roads, and a higher sense of security. In the meantime, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 is building a consulate
Consul (representative)
The political title Consul is used for the official representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the peoples of the two countries...

 in Herat to help further strengthen its relations with Afghanistan. It is currently operating from a renovated hotel for about three years while a permanent location is built. Afghans who apply for visas to the United States will no longer be required to travel all the way to Kabul anymore. Iranian applicants will also use the Herat counsulate because the United States has no embassy in Iran since 1979. Besides the usual services, the consulate will be working with the local officials on development projects and with security issues in the region.

Climate



Although Herāt is approximately 240 m (787.4 ft) lower than Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

, the summer climate is more temperate, and the climate throughout the year is far from disagreeable. From May to September, the wind blows from the northwest with great force.

The winter is tolerably mild; snow melts as it falls, and even on the mountains does not lie long. Three years out of four it does not freeze hard enough for the people to store ice. The eastern reaches of the Hari River, including the rapids, are frozen hard in the winter, and people travel on it as on a road.

Demography


The population of Herat numbers approximately 397,500. The exact figures on ethnic groups is unavailable but most sources state that Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

-speaking Tajiks are the main inhabitants of the city, and are roughly the same as the Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 of eastern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. According to a 2003 National Geographic
National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society , headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical...

 suggested estimate, Tajiks form about 85% of the city population. Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

-speaking Pashtuns
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 come second at 10% followed by Shia Hazaras at 2%, Uzbeks at 2%, and Turkmens
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

 at 1%.

The native language of Herat (known as Herātī) belongs to the Khorāsānī cluster within Persian and is akin to the Persian dialects of eastern Iran, notably that of Mashhad
Mashhad
Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

 and Iranian Khorasan.

Notable people from Herāt

  • Aamir Khan
    Aamir Khan
    Aamir Hussain Khan is an Indian film actor, director and producer who has established himself as one of the leading actors of Hindi cinema....

    , Bollywood (Indian) Super Star, whose family traces its lineage to Herat
  • Khwājah Abdullāh Ansārī, a famous Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

     poet of the 11th century
  • Nūr ud-Dīn Jāmī
    Jami
    Nur ad-Dīn Abd ar-Rahmān Jāmī also known as DJāmī, Mawlanā Nūr al-Dīn 'Abd al-Rahmān or Abd-Al-Rahmān Nur-Al-Din Muhammad Dashti who is commonly known as Jami , is known for his achievements as a scholar, mystic, writer, composer of numerous lyrics and idylls, historian, and one of the greatest...

    , a famous Persian Sufi poet of the 15th century
  • Nizām ud-Din ʿAlī Shīr Navā'ī
    Mir Ali Shir Nava'i
    ' was a Central Asian Turkic politician, mystic, linguist, painter, and poet of Uyghur origin who was born and lived in Herat. He is generally known by his pen name Navā'ī...

    , famous poet and politician of the Timurid
    Timurid Dynasty
    The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

     era
  • Ustād Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād, the greatest of the medieval Persian painters
    Persian miniature
    A Persian miniature is a small painting on paper, whether a book illustration or a separate work of art intended to be kept in an album of such works called a muraqqa. The techniques are broadly comparable to the Western and Byzantine traditions of miniatures in illuminated manuscripts...

  • Gowharšād
    Goharshad
    Goharshād was a wife of Shāh Rukh, the emperor of the Timurid Dynasty of Herāt. She was the daughter of Giāth ud-Din Tarkhān, an important and influential noble during Tīmur's reign...

    , wife of Shāhrūkh Mīrzā
  • Mīrzā Shāhrūkh bin Tīmur Barlas
    Shah Rukh (Timurid dynasty)
    Shāhrukh Mīrzā was the ruler of the eastern portion of the empire established by the Central Asian warlord Timur - the founder of the Timurid dynasty - governing most of Persia and Transoxiana between 1405 and 1447...

    , Emperor of the Timurid dynasty
    Timurid Dynasty
    The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

     of Herāt
  • Mīrzā Husseyn Bāyqarāh
    Husayn Bayqarah
    Husayn Bayqarah was a Timurid ruler of Herat from 1469 to 1506, with a brief interruption in 1470. His father was Mansur, a great-grandson of Timur...

    , Emperor of the Timurid dynasty of Herāt
  • Shāh Abbās The Great
    Abbas I of Persia
    Shāh ‘Abbās the Great was Shah of Iran, and generally considered the greatest ruler of the Safavid dynasty. He was the third son of Shah Mohammad....

    , Emperor of Safavid Persia
  • Abbās Qullī Khān Shāmlū
    Shamlu
    The Shamloo, Shamlu, shomloo Tribe was one of the 7 original and the most powerful Qizilbash Tribe of Turcoman origin in Iran.-Pre-Safavid Era:...

    , Safavid Governor of Herat Province
    Herat Province
    Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan; together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country...

     (1812)
  • Latīf Nāzemī
    Latif Nazemi
    Latif Nazemi is a Persian poet and literary critic from Afghanistan. He currently lives in Frankfurt and works for Radio Deutsche Welle in Germany.Nazemi was born in Herat, Afghanistan and graduated from Kabul University, where he later taught...

    , famous poet of modern times
  • Sultan Jan
    Sultan Jan
    Sultan Jan, also known as Sultan Ahmed Khan was installed as ruler of Herat by the Persians, as they evacuated Herat on March 4, 1857 in accordance with the Treaty of Paris....

    , ex-ruler of Herat.
  • Ismail Khan
    Ismail Khan
    Ismail Khan is a politician and former mujahideen commander from Afghanistan. Born in the western Afghan city of Herat, he rose to become a powerful rebel commander during in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, and then a key member of the Northern Alliance until finally becoming the Governor of Herat...

    , former governor of Herat Province and Minister of Water and Energy

Air


Herat Airport was built by engineers from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in the 20th century and was used by the Soviet Armed Forces
Soviet Armed Forces
The Soviet Armed Forces, also called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union refers to the armed forces of the Russian SFSR , and Soviet Union from their beginnings in the...

 during their 1980s war with the Afghan mujahideen forces. It was bombed in late 2001 when the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom began to remove the Taliban government from power. It has been rebuilt in the last decade and is scheduled to be turned into Herat International Airport in the near future. The runway of the airport has been extended and upraded.

Rail



In 2007, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Afghanistan finalized an agreement for the establishment of a rail service
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 between the two countries. Construction of the 191 km (118.7 mi) railway, from Khaf
Khaf County
Khvaf County is a county in Razavi Khorasan Province in Iran. The capital of the county is Khvaf. It is a small border town about 350 km from Mashhad....

 in Iran to Herāt, is in progress on the Iranian side of the border.
There is also the prospect of an extension across Afghanistan to Sher Khan Bandar. See railway stations in Afghanistan.

Places of interest


  • Neighborhoods
    • Shahr-e Naw (Downtown)
    • Welayat (Office of the governor)
    • Qol-Ordue (Army's HQ)
    • Farqa (Army's HQ)
    • Darwaze Khosh
    • Chaharsu
    • Pul-e rangine
    • Sufi-abad
    • New-abad
    • Pul-e malaan
    • Thakhte Safar
    • Howz-e-Karbas
    • Baramaan
    • Darwaze-ye Qandahar
    • Darwaze-ye Iraq
    • Darwaze Az Kordestan

  • Parks
    • Park-e Taraki
    • Park-e Millat
    • Khane-ye Jihad Park

  • Monuments
    • Herat citadel (Qala Ikhtyaruddin)
    • Musallah Complex


Of the more than dozen minarets that once stood in Herāt, many have been toppled from war and neglect over the past century. Recently, however, everyday traffic threatens many of the remaining unique towers by shaking the very foundations they stand on. Cars and trucks that drive on a road encircling the ancient city rumble the ground every time they pass these historic structures.UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 personnel and Afghan authorities have been working to stabilize the Fifth Minaret.
  • Museums
    • Herāt National Museum (currently closed, relocating to the Citadel)
    • Jihad
      Jihad
      Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

       Museum

  • Mausoleums and tombs
    • Mausoleum of Queen Goharshad
      Goharshad
      Goharshād was a wife of Shāh Rukh, the emperor of the Timurid Dynasty of Herāt. She was the daughter of Giāth ud-Din Tarkhān, an important and influential noble during Tīmur's reign...

    • Mausoleum of Khwajah Abdullah Ansari
      Khwaja 'Abd Allah Ansari shrine
      The Khwaja 'Abd Allah Ansari shrine, also known as Gazar Gah, is a funerary compound in Herat, Afghanistan, that houses the tomb of the Sufi mystic and saint Khwajah Abdullah Ansari, also known as the guardian pir of Herat....

    • Tomb of Jami
      Jami
      Nur ad-Dīn Abd ar-Rahmān Jāmī also known as DJāmī, Mawlanā Nūr al-Dīn 'Abd al-Rahmān or Abd-Al-Rahmān Nur-Al-Din Muhammad Dashti who is commonly known as Jami , is known for his achievements as a scholar, mystic, writer, composer of numerous lyrics and idylls, historian, and one of the greatest...

    • Tomb of khaje Qaltan
    • Mausoleum of Mirwais Sadiq
      Mirwais Sadiq
      Mirwais Sadiq was the Civil Aviation Minister of Afghanistan and the son of the Ismail Khan, who was then the governor of Herat Province....


  • Mosques
    • Masjid-e Jame (Friday Mosque of Herat
      Friday Mosque of Herat
      The Friday Mosque of Herat , also known as the Jumah Mosque, is a mosque in the city of Herat, in the Herat Province of north-western Afghanistan. It was built by the Timurids and extended by several rulers swapping hands down the centuries between the Timurids, Safavids, Mughals and the Uzbeks all...

      )
    • Gazargah Sharif
    • Khalghe Sharif
    • Shah Zahdahe

  • Hotels
    • Serena Hotel
      Serena Hotel
      -Overview:The Serena Hotels Group is one of 96 companies that makes up the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development , the for-profit arm of the Aga Khan Development Network . The Group trades under the name Tourism Promotion Services . The company is listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange , where it...

       (coming soon)
    • Diamond Hotel
    • Marcopolo Hotel

  • Stadiums
    • Herat Stadium

  • Universities
    • Herat University
      Herat University
      Herāt University is located in Herat, the capital of Herat Province, in western Afghanistan.Herat University was founded in 1988. It is attended by approximately 3,000 students, 900 of whom are women. The university is still recovering from the long period of war and chaos in the country...


Herāt in fiction

  • The beginning of Khaled Hosseini
    Khaled Hosseini
    Khaled Hosseini , is an Afghan-born American novelist and physician of ethnic Tajik origin. He is a citizen of the United States where he has lived since he was fifteen years old. His 2003 debut novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, selling more than 12 million copies worldwide....

    's 2007 novel A Thousand Splendid Suns
    A Thousand Splendid Suns
    A Thousand Splendid Suns is a 2007 novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. It is his second, following his bestselling 2003 debut, The Kite Runner. The book focuses on the tumultuous lives of two Afghan women and how their lives cross each other, spanning from the 1960s to 2003...

    is set in and around Herāt.
  • Salman Rushdie's novel The Enchantress of Florence
    The Enchantress of Florence
    The Enchantress of Florence is the ninth novel by Salman Rushdie, and was published in 2008. According to Rushdie this is his "most researched book" which required "Years and years of reading"....

    makes frequent reference to events in Herāt in the Middle Ages.

See also


  • Aria (satrapy)
  • Geography of Afghanistan
    Geography of Afghanistan
    Afghanistan is a landlocked nation located in Central Asia. Strategically located at the crossroads of major north-south and east-west trade routes, it has attracted a succession of invaders including Alexander the Great, in the fourth century B.C...

  • Greater Khorasan
    Greater Khorasan
    Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

  • Herāt Province
    Herat Province
    Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan; together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country...

  • History of Afghanistan
    History of Afghanistan
    The written history of Afghanistan can be traced back to the Achaemenid Empire ca. 500 BCE, although evidence indicates that an advanced degree of urbanized culture has existed in the land since between 3000 and 2000 BCE. Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army arrived to Afghanistan in 330 BCE...


External links