Theme Week Afghanistan – Kandahar

Tuesday, 26 May 2020 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  9 minutes

© Afgbeast/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Afgbeast/cc-by-sa-4.0

Kandahar is a city located in Afghanistan, with a population of about 614,118. Kandahar is located in the south of the country on the Arghandab River, at an elevation of 1,010 m (3,310 ft). It is the capital of Kandahar Province, and also the center of the larger cultural region called Loy Kandahar. In 1709, Mirwais Hotak made the region an independent kingdom and turned Kandahar into the capital of the Hotak dynasty. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani dynasty, made Kandahar the capital of the Afghan Empire. Kandahar is one of the most culturally significant cities of the Pashtuns and has been their traditional seat of power for more than 300 years. It is a major trading center for sheep, wool, cotton, silk, felt, food grains, fresh and dried fruit, and tobacco. The region produces fine fruits, especially pomegranates and grapes, and the city has plants for canning, drying, and packing fruit, and is a major source of marijuana and hashish en route to Tajikistan.

The region around Kandahar is one of the oldest known human settlements. A major fortified city existed at the site of Kandahar, probably as early as circa 1000–750 BC, and it became an important outpost of the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire in the 6th century BC. Alexander the Great had laid-out the foundation of what is now Old Kandahar in the 4th century BC and gave it the Ancient Greek name Alexandria of Arachosia. Many empires have long fought over the city due to its strategic location along the trade routes of southern, central and western Asia. Since the 1978 Marxist revolution, the city has been a magnet for groups such as Haqqani network, Quetta Shura, Hezbi Islami, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. From late-1996 to 2001, it served as the de facto capital of the Taliban government until the Taliban were overthrown by US-led NATO forces during Operation Enduring Freedom in late-2001 and replaced by the government of President Hamid Karzai.

© flickr.com - Karla Marshall Friday Mosque of Kandahar © U.S. Embassy Kabul Afghanistan - Brian H. Neely Kandahar_Airfield-dvidshub_net-Lt._Kristine_Volk © Afgbeast/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Friday Mosque of Kandahar © U.S. Embassy Kabul Afghanistan - Brian H. Neely
The tomb of Ahmad Shah Durrani is located in the city centre, which also houses Durrani’s brass helmet and other personal items. In front of Durrani’s mausoleum is the Shrine of the Cloak, containing one of the most valued relics in the Islamic world, which was given by the Emir of Bukhara (Murad Beg) to Ahmad Shah Durrani. The Sacred Cloak is kept locked away, taken out only at times of great crisis. Mullah Omar took it out in November 1996 and displayed it to a crowd of ulema of religious scholars to have himself declared Amir al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Faithful). Prior to that it was taken out when the city was struck by a cholera epidemic in the 1930s. The village of Sher Surkh is located southeast of the city, in the suburbs of the old city of Nadirabad. Kandahar Museum is located at the western end of the third block of buildings lining the main road east of Eidgah Durwaza (gate). It has many paintings by the now famous Ghiyassuddin, painted while he was a young teacher in Kandahar. He is acknowledged among Afghanistan’s leading artists. Just to the north of the city, off its northeast corner at the end of buria (matting) bazaar, there is a shrine dedicated to a saint who lived in Kandahar more than 300 years ago. The grave of Hazratji Baba, 7.0 metres (23 ft) long to signify his greatness, but otherwise covered solely by rock chips, is undecorated save for tall pennants at its head. A monument to Islamic martyrs stands in the center of Kandahar’s main square, called Da Shahidanu Chawk, which was built in the 1940s. The Chilzina is a rock-cut chamber above the plain at the end of the rugged chain of mountains forming the western defence of Kandahar’s Old City. This is here that Ashoka‘s Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription was found. Forty steps, about, lead to the chamber, which is guarded by two chained lions, defaced, and inscribed with an account of Moghul conquest. The rugged cliffs from which the Chilzina was hewn form the natural western bastion of the Old City of Kandahar, which was destroyed in 1738 by Nadir Shah Afshar of Persia. A short distance from Chilzina, going west on the main highway, a bright blue dome appears on the right. This is the mausoleum of Mirwais Hotak, the Ghiljai chieftain who declared Kandahar’s independence from the Persians in 1709. The shrine of Baba Wali Kandhari (Baba Sahib), its terraces shaded by pomegranate groves beside the Arghandab River, is also very popular for picnics and afternoon outings. He was Muslim pir who had a strange encounter with Guru Nanak at Hasan Abdal in what is now Attock District of Pakistan. The shrine of Baba Wali is important to Muslims and Sikhs. Close to Baba Wali’s shrine is a military base established by the United States Armed Forces in about 2007.

Decades of war left Kandahar and the rest of the country destroyed and depopulated, but in recent years billions of dollars began pouring in for construction purposes and millions of expats have returned to Afghanistan. New residential areas have been established around the city, and a number of modern-style buildings have been constructed. Some residents of the city have access to clean drinking water and electricity, and the government is working to extend these services to every home. The city relies on electricity from the Kajaki hydroelectricity plant in neighbouring Helmand, which is being upgraded or expanded. About 30 km (20 mi) north of the city is the Dahla Dam, the second largest dam in Afghanistan. The Aino Mina is a new housing project for up to two million people on the northern edge of the city. Originally called the Kandahar Valley and started by Mahmud Karzai, it was announced that the project would build up to 20,000 single-family homes and associated infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer systems, and community buildings, including schools. It recently won 2 awards, the Residential Project and Sustainable Project of the Year at the Middle East Architect Awards. Many of the high-ranking government employees and civil servants as well as wealthy businessmen live in this area, which is a more secured community in Kandahar. Work on the next $100 million scheme was initiated in 2011. Also, construction of Hamidi Township in the Morchi Kotal area of the city began in August 2011. It is named after Ghulam Haider Hamidi, the mayor of Kandahar who was assassinated by militants in late July 2011. Situated along the Kandahar-Uruzgan Highway in the northeast of the city, the new township will have 2,000 residential and commercial plots. Including new roads, schools, commercial markets, clinics, canals and other facilities. About 10 km (6 mi) east of Kandahar, a huge industrial park is under construction with modern facilities. The park will have professional management for the daily maintenance of public roads, internal streets, common areas, parking areas, 24 hours perimeter security, access control for vehicles and persons.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Wikitravel Kandahar, Wikivoyage Kandahar and Wikipedia Kandahar. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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