In an alley off in Kabul, there is one street called Kocha-e-Kah Forushi, a well-known name at the
national and international level. The street is considered as one of the historical alleys of the country. It’s said that the alley’s historical oldness goes back to the reign of Ahmad Shah Durrani.
It is also said that when Ahmad Shah Durrani passed away, his son Timor Shah moved the country’s capital from Kandahar to Kabul. The issue resulted in significant changes in Kabul, including the nomination of some neighborhoods, alleys and streets in this city.
Therefore, this narrow alley was named as Kocha-e-Kah Forushi at that time. The Kocha-eKah Forushi – the “Hay Market” Kah Farushi is a narrow lane, lined with ramshackle mud brick buildings. It is located in a dusty quarter next to the Old Pul-e-Khishti Mosque, near the main bridge across the Kabul River.
It is one of the oldest quarters of the Afghan capital, Kabul, where a bazaar that caters especially to bird-keepers is located.
This part of the city is a warren of tiny lanes where no cars can penetrate, so the air is filled only with the melodious sound of birdsong.
In tiny open-fronted shops, shopkeepers sell canaries, bulbuls (nightingales), budgerigars and other songbirds.
While some shopkeepers here depend on their earnings to make a living, others – particularly the younger men and boys – often see it as a hobby. Keeping pigeons is popular – the graceful wheeling and circling of flocks at dusk is a common sight in every Afghan city. Entering Kabul’s bird market is like stepping back in time a hundred years, to a corner of the city untouched by war or modernization. Also known as the Alley of Straw Sellers, it’s tucked away behind the Pul-e Khishti Mosque, lined with stalls and booths selling birds by the dozen, plus the occasional rabbit. King of all the birds on sale is the kowk (fighting partridge).
These are prized by their owners who lavish great care on them, and keep them in domed wicker cages that are almost works of art in themselves.
According to Janbaz, a Kabul resident, in the past, most of the real Kabulis including Alam Majnoon, working for Kabul municipality at that time, and Haji Mohammad Azim, known as a local Mullah calling in Pul-e-Khisti
Mosque, lived in this alley.
On the other hand, Gul Rahim, one of the shopkeepers of the Kocha-e-Kah Forushi, says the alley might be one of the few neighborhoods in Kabul that has not been affected due to past social, political changes and civil wars in the city as most of old houses built in both sides of the alley are still remained unchanged.
There are dozens of streets and alleys which go back to old history and Kocha-e-Kah Forushi is one of these alleys. Most national and international visitors pay visit to these alleys.