We drive out of Bamyan back to Kabul via the Shomali Plain. If we leave early enough we can arrive in Kabul in the late af- ternoon, leaving you some more time for shopping or more sightseeing there.
You may for example drive across the Kabul river to see the newly re-built and re-opened Barbur Garden.
The gardens were built in the mid-16th century at the behest of the first Mogul emperor of India, Zahir-ed-Din Mohammad Babur Shah and remain one of the few cultural landscapes in Afghanistan to retain their original shape. The entrance to the gardens is from the Sarak-e-Chilsitun main road that runs in front of the mountain. The gardens start out as a gentle climb up the mountainside. The last stretch is steeper, but it is worth going all the way up. Tucked away on the final terrace at the top is the tomb of the former king himself, Babur Shah. Just below them is a wonderful little mar- ble mosque built by Babur’s successor, Shah Jahan, also dating from mid-1600. There is a restaurant is towards the top end of the gardens with a breath-taking view over Kabul below and the mountains beyond. The Great Babur had two wishes, he asked to be buried in the gardens he loved so much upon his death, which was in 1530 in Agra & was move from India to Kabul & that nothing should cover his grave. This was honoured until Nadir Shah decided to build a small pavilion over it. Now it has been restored to its original glory follow- ing his last wish.
We make our way to Herat.
For the moment the Central Road leading west from Kabul is too inaccessible to be driven in acceptable speed and safety. Two decades of conflicts left the road in disarray and is only now being re-built. Hence for the moment we recommend to fly from Kabul to Herat. As soon as the Central Road is back on track we will put our customers to the choice.
After arrival in Herat we will transfer you to the guesthouse where you may rest for a while before lunch and exploring some of the sights of Herat. Afghan Logistics & Tours have a local partner company in Herat who is supplying us with vehicles of equally high standards as our own in Kabul.
The sites in Herat are plenty and we can only give a selection of a few highlights here. Feel free to bring up other sites you wish to see instead.
Citadel: dating from 1305 the original settlement of Herat is older. Walking around the battlements and towers gives great views onto the city and surrounding areas.
The Friday Mosque: one of the major sites in Afghanistan. Its humble origins stem from the 12th century and up to the 1940s it has been a rather plain building. Only from then onward was the entire complex decorated with tiles from the tile factory located on the grounds of the Mosque.
Shopping: north of the Friday Mosque we will find handicraft shops which among others sell the trade- mark of Herati crafts: mouth-blown blue glass with bubbles in it.
Gazargah: A highlight of Herat is the Sufi shrine of Gazargh, where the Sufi poet Abdullah Ansari (1006—1089) is buried.
On day 7 we drive to the Minaret of Jam.
The drive there takes almost 15 hours. The minaret is one of the most mysterious structures in the coun- try. It is located in a place so isolated that it was not re-discovered until 1943. The structure stand 65m tall and leans off the vertical. Its age is not clear even though its inscriptions date to the 12th century. This gave rise to the theory over the purpose of the minaret: some scholars claim that it was part of the capital Firuzkoh in the Ghorid period
We may camp nearby and—after exploring the minaret— and drive back on day 8 to Herat.