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Major tourist site restored in Herat, Afghanistan. Please send me there!
While Afghanistan may not be high on your places-to-go list, the government is trying hard to offer more sightseeing opportunities.
A giant citadel overlooking the city of Herat has just reopened after several years and $2.4 million of restoration. The citadel dates back to when Alexander the Great's armies marched across Afghanistan on their way to India in 330 BC. It was used by a succession of dynasties and cultures before being destroyed by the Mongols. Most of the current citadel dates to the 14th and 15th centuries.
The restoration was done with the help of the U.S. and German governments and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The National Museum of Herat has opened inside the citadel, showcasing artifacts from the region's long history.
The citadel was a favorite stop on the old Asian overland hippie trail in the 1960s and 70s popularized by Lonely Planet. While Afghanistan is courting tourists once again and a few hardy adventure travel companies such as Hinterland Travel are offering tours, only a trickle of visitors are coming to this ancient region.
Afghanistan has always been at the top of my list of places to go. I visited Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province in the 1990's and spent several pleasant weeks among the Afghan communities there. Afghanistan's long history and varied cultures would make a great Gadling series. I gave you Ethiopia, I gave you Somaliland, and I'd love to give you Afghanistan. . .
. . .but I can't afford it. So I'm asking for your help. If you'd like to see a boots-on-the-ground series on Afghanistan written by yours truly, say so in the comments section and tell AOL to be my sugar daddy. I really want to go, and if enough of you vote, maybe they'll send me! Tell your friends to vote too!
[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]