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The History of Afghanistan

Afghanistan Tour Service

Before Travelling to Afghanistan, it would be best to know about Afghan history and Afghanistan tourist information before you hear from any Afghan tour guide.  Afghanistan, in Asia has faced migration and invaders throughout history: from the Zoroastrian manifestation to the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, Buddhist civilisation, Islamic influence, Mongolian overrun, and other local governments, to colonisation by Britain in the 18th century and the Soviet Union in the 19th century. Below is the history of Afghanistan, which you need to know as a tourist:

Arian Migration to Afghanistan

The most significant migration in the history of Arian migration in 2000 BC created the political, and cultural civilisation of Afghanistan. The nomadic movement formed due to the freezing weather to Asian territories and the people settled in Iran, Afghanistan, and India, establishing a way of life and fortified castles. The Sanskrit language, which traveled from Afghanistan to India, shows the predominant migration routes.

Persian Empire

In 545 BC after six years of resistance, the powerful Persian Empire occupied Afghanistan. Even today there are some stupa debris in Gandhara and Chanbar Valley.

Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom

Alexander the Great

In the first place, the Greek army destroyed the Persian Empire and occupied the realm arriving at the Afghanistan border and crossing the Axis River.  People defended the territory but finally, Alexander the Great defeated the resistance. People built the walls and surrounding castles, which still exist in the Balkh district.

With blending the art, culture, and architecture of Greece together, Alexander married a local woman in Balkh named Roxana (Rokhshana in Persian). Through this relationship, 1,000 young Balkh soldiers joined Alexander’s Army. After Alexander the Great, the Greek commander governed the land for a long time, and they formed the Greco- Bacterian government.

Buddhism Empire

The Kushan Empire was then defeated in battle by Huang Noo from China in the first century. After Greece separated though this territory, they built many of these civilizations and symbols in different parts of Afghanistan from Buddhist history, especially in Bamiyan and Samangan provinces.

Mosque facade in Afghanistan
Mosque facade in Afghanistan

Islam Influence in Afghanistan

After Buddhism, the Sassanids Dynasty ruled in Afghanistan, but the Arabs destroyed their kingdom. After that, the Muslims influenced Afghanistan in 652 AD.  Buddhist costumes and culture were transferred to Islamic culture and many Muslims settled in Afghanistan as missionaries for Islam. There are many mosques and other places which show Islamic architecture in Afghanistan, for instance in Balkh, one of the most visited tourist attractions is the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif, Others include the Jomah Mosque in Harat, kings with two swords in Kabul, and other mosques in Kandahar.

previous issues

Genghis Khan and TIMUR Invasions

However, the Mongolian invasion, with their wild commander Genghis Khan, occurred in 1222 AD. Certainly, it caused destruction in the country and ruined many historical cities, and symbols. Among them, Balkh, with great history, Mosques, castles, art, and architecture, were devstroyed and many people were killed. Mongolians then entered India from Afghanistan and some of them settled in there and took control of their territories

Less than 200 years after the Mongolian invasion and destruction, cities were restored and Turkish power led by Amir TIMUR extended its kingdom to India after several battles. During this time Afghanistan was the main route for its military convoy. Shahrokh, the son of Timur, established his new reign in Herat and he built many valuable monuments in Heart which is an Afghan tourist destination now.

Genghis Khan

Safavid Dynasty

Beginning in the 16th Century, the Safavid dynasty ruled Iran, invaded Afghanistan, and occupied up to Jawzjan province and took control of the states. Supporters of the dynasty were known for their red hats.  Gezelbash means red hat in the Turkish language and some of those people settled in parts of Afghanistan. It remains one of the ethnicities there.

King Nader

After Safavid rule in Afghanistan, Afghan Mahamood fought against Sofavid to occupy Esfahan, but one of the Safavid commanders “Nader” changed the authority of Safavids to be known as a new King of Iran. He defeated  Afghans and went on to vanquish the Indian army, gaining many treasures from there. After Nader’s death, rest of the governor’s reign in part of the territories and Ahmad khan Abdaly in Afghanistan too.

Last kings and presidents in Afghanistan

In the last two centuries, Afghanistan was occupied by Britain in 1839 and achieved its liberty in 1919 during King Amanullah Khan’s reign.

  • Amanullah khan from 1918-the first constitution and new area for education and fundamental structure. In 1921 he went to Europe and Turkey  and  also wanted to make new Afghanistan like them.
  • Habibullah Kalakani from January – October 1929
  • Nader shah 1929 – 1933
  • Zaher Shah son of Nader Shah 1929 – 1969
  • Dawood khan with Kodeta 1973 and Republic. TV starts, road  construction started.
  • Noor Mohmmad Traki became president with a coup in 1957.
  • Hafizullah Amin killed Traki and become president for one year.
  • Babrak Karmel became president by the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan and Amin was killed 1958 – 1964.
  • Dr. Najub became president by Karmel’s resignation after six years in1992.
  • Interim Mujahidin Administration after Dr. Najeeb overturned.
  • Islamic Emirates (Taliban) 1996-2001.
  • New Democracy in 2001 with worlds international agreements.

General information

In conclusion, if you want to know more about Afghan culture, you can look at Authentic Afghanistan. 

However, if you want to know more about the culture of other places, you can look at our Blog.


Author: Mohammad Reza

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