Around the corner from the Darul Aman Palace sits the National Museum of Afghanistan, offering a bitter reminder of Afghanistan’s stormy history.
The museum once boasted one of the world’s premier collections of Central Asian artifacts dating back several thousand years but civil war and a fatuous rejection of art by the Taliban led to the destruction of over 70% of the collection.
Today, the museum is struggling to rebuild itself. Outside, the two-story complex is very attractive but inside I found the building cold and damp, forcing me to bundle up but also putting the surviving collection in further peril of degradation. In a small room down the second floor hall, a trio of workers wearing parkas huddled around a wooden table trying to gently restore fragmented artifacts. Progress is painstakingly slow and tedious.
There were some impressive pieces in the museum, but it just broke my heart to see so many damaged goods, so many pieces of history that will never be restored to their ancient grandeur.
Below, please enjoy the photo tour of the museum, and allow me to draw your attention to the last series of photos below, a collection of vehicles used by past leaders—and occupiers—that now sits uncovered adjacent to the museum. In a way, it represents Afghanistan: dusty, rusty, rotting, but still there. That’s not meant as an insult, only a sad observation—stay tuned for an upcoming post on the dilemma in Afghanistan.
Read more of my Saudi Arabia + Afghanistan Trip Report–
Introduction: A Journey to Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan
How to Obtain a Saudi Arabian Transit Visa
New York JFK to Jeddah in Saudia Economy Class
Review: Park Hyatt Jeddah
Pictures from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Jeddah to Dubai in Saudia Economy Class
Dubai to Kabul on Ariana Afghan Airlines
Arrival in Afghanistan
The Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan
My Hotel, er Compound, in Kabul, Afghanistan
Kabul – TV Tower Hill and Darul Aman Palace
Kabul – National Museum of Afghanistan
Kabul – Gardens of Babur and Kart-e Sakhi Mosque
Kabul – The Green Zone and British Cemetery
Kabul International Airport and Departing Afghanistan
The Afghanistan Dilemma
Kabul to Dubai on flydubai
Dubai to New York via Jeddah in Saudia Economy Class
Kudos for the trip report from Kabul. I found it fascinating along with your trip report to Kish, Iran which I stumbled across.
With respect to Kish, what happened to the LH tickets that you missed? Was looking for that but didn’t see it. Curious how it turned out.
Your pictures are absolutely fantastic. Look forward to your next blog entry. -Steve
@Steve: Here’s what happened on Lufthansa–
@Matthew: Glad you were able to get out of DXB on award tix. While you were “trapped in Iran”, overall it sounds like you had a one of a kind experience. The Kish lodging may have been basic, but you were able to take in unique sites and had unique cultural experiences.
I’ve been in similar circumstances where I’ve missed the “return” portion of a round-trip ticket – typically circumstances out of my control.
Like you, I do everything I can to get a waiver/favor in such situations. When you don’t get the waiver/favor, it’s frustrating, at least in the short term – but when I’ve looked back, it really wasn’t such a big deal.
I’m good about obtaining a quality travel insurance policies with most international travel. Not sure if it would have helped in the Kish circumstance, but one of the two times I’ve needed to use such insurance in ~20 years it really saved my butt.
Look forward to reading more about your Kabul trip. After reading a few of your more unique trip reports I’m now wanting to get well off the beaten path as you have. -Steve
“Look forward to reading more about your Kabul trip. After reading a few of your more unique trip reports I’m now wanting to get well off the beaten path as you have.” +1