Monday, January 1, 2001

Alternative Tourism in Afghanistan

Alternative tours to Afghanistan are considered extreme adventures in today's environment there. However it is possible to travel to Afghanistan and experience the ancient culture struggling to revitalize itself amid the ongoing hostilities among armed groups and state actors.

You'll find yourself welcomed by the Afghan people and embraced with hospitality. A few organizations are offering tours to the country and it is wise to go there with such a group.

Despite the looting of the National Museum in 1998 and destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001 there is a wonderful archeological and cultural heritage to explore.

Exerpt from 'Minaret of Jam', Paul Cramer

"The minaret isn't some hastily thrown-up affair either. It's a proud example of Islamic brick architecture. Three tapering cylindrical storeys rise from a vast octagonal base, the whole completely covered in intricate raised café-au-lait brick decoration. Interlocking chains, polygons and medallions wind delicately around the shaft, interspersed with text from the Quran. At the neck of the first section, a band of glazed turquoise text spells out the name of Ghiyasuddin, the sultan who erected it. Above this are spars from the original wooden scaffold and brick buttresses that would once have supported a balcony. The second and third shafts are more restrained in their decoration, surmounted with a final lantern gallery of pinched and pointed arches. Few muezzins have ever had such a stage for their call to prayer."
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