The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Number of foreign tourists visiting Herat’s Qala-e-Ikhtyaruddin Castle increasing

Local officials of the Herat Information and Culture Directorate says more than 6,500 foreign tourists
have visited the country’s Qalae- Ikhtyaruddin Castle during the past six months.
Qala-e- Ikhtyaruddin is one of the famous and historical monuments of Herat city and thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visit the castle every year. According to the Herat provincial director of information and culture, tourism has been now normal and hundreds of tourists visit Qala-eIkhtyaruddin on daily basis.
“We have hosted 6,689 foreign tourists in Herat province during the past six months,” said Naeemul Haq Haqqani, provincial director of information and culture for Herat.
He added that just 1,226 foreign tourists have visited the castle in one month in April “We have different categories of tourists as domestic, school students and foreign,” Haqqani said, adding the number of foreign
tourists visiting historic places of Herat has increased in the past six months.
In 2004, the city of Herat was inscribed on the UNESCO Tentative List for World Heritage Sites.
Over the past centuries, it has been of strategic, commercial and cultural significance to the wider region. The history of Herat has been one of repeated destruction and reconstruction. The city has
a lot to offer and attracts many tourists who come to visit historic sites particularly Qala-e- Ikhtyaruddin.
Captured by Alexander the Great in 330 BC during his war against the Achaemenids, the town was developed, and a citadel was built. To this day, Qala-eIkhtyaruddin remains one of the oldest extant structures in the center of Herat city, built on the site of the ancient citadel.
The layout of battlements and towers that survive is thought to date from the early 14th century AD, when the Karts rebuilt a fortress that had been destroyed by the Mongols.
Situated at the northern edge of the square-plan old city, the citadel was during the 15th and 16th centuries AD the seat of the Timurid rulers, and was part of the architectural works undertaken by Shah Rukh, who commissioned the tilework that can still be seen on several towers. The citadel underwent conservation in
the 1970s.
There’s also a museum in Qala-e- Ikhtyaruddin, considered as the second museum in the country, where nearly 3,000 ancient artifacts are preserved. According to, Abdul Jabar Nawrozi, directorof Herat Museum, the museum has nearly 3,000 types of artifacts, most of which are displaced in the exhibition.
According to cultural figures, Alexander the Great was the first one to separate the castle into two parts. The second part consists of many big halls with small and big rooms. They also said that the first original castle was built by a girl with the name Shamshera, the daughter of an Aryan king.
Herat is famous for its historic sites and architectural heritages. Apart from its architectural heritage, the city of Herat has long been an important center for the arts and sciences, with a rich tradition of calligraphy and painting, astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. Among others whose names are associated with the city
are Behzad, Jami and Ansari.
Saida Ahmadi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.