20 Best Photos Of Afghanistan.  An ancient culture and land.  A country often invaded, enslaved and in turmoil.  A country in the news for all of the wrong reasons.  I spent two weeks exploring the country and witnessing a side of the country not typically shown on the front page of the newspapers.

Here are twenty photos that show a different side of Afghanistan.  I traveled with Untamed Borders, they specialize in off the beaten path locations.  Check out their trips on their website.

2o best photos of afghanistan

Ziarat-e Sakhi Mosque.  This photogenic mosque sits at the edge of a hill, with a houses overlooking this colorful mosque.  The color of the mosque is similar to the styles that you might see in Iran or Uzbekistan.  I made a short visit here one morning, admiring the design and colors while watching the locals take in the day.

2o best photos of afghanistan

The last Jew of Afghanistan.  This was a bit of an odd and interesting visiting.  Zabulon Simentov, a 66 year old, has weathered the years, whether it was the Soviet invasion, rule of the Taliban, or the American attacks.  In years past, there were Jewish communities in Heart and Kabul.  Over the years, they have left for the safety of Israel, US, and Canada. Our group stopped in at his simple flat and visited the synagogue which he administers.  He refuses to leave and is considered to be the last Jew of Afghanistan.  

2o best photos of afghanistan

Volunteer school in Bamiyan.  Bamiyan is an area set in the mountains of the Hindu Kush.  It is considered to be a more isolated and secure area within Afghanistan.  Carved into the side of a mountain, our group visited a small school.  A teenager living in one of the adjoining caves, started this school for children who lived nearby.  These kids are often poor or internally displaced refugees.  Here are four young girls reciting some poetry in the school.

armed guard in afghanistan

Security guard in Kabul.  Kabul is a sprawling city of four million plus set within rolling hills.  I visited an old military fort to capture this view.  Throughout Kabul and Afghanistan, you will see armed men … army, police, and security guards.

people in afghanistan

Boys in Bamiyan.  Bamiyan is a small town of 100,000 with a long main street intersecting the market.  It was fun, strolling by myself stopping in at some of the small stores and meeting some of the locals.


Buddhas of Bamiyan.  While the setting was stunning, this was also one of the more frustrating times of my trip.  Prior to 2001, two stunning Buddhas stood sentry, carved into the mountain.  The Buddhas stood 115 and 174 feet tall.  The other carved sections were mediation chambers for Buddhist monks.  In 2001, the Taliban destroyed these UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

boy at Band-e Amir

Boy on a horse.  I visited the Band-e Amir National Park in the Bamiyan region.  The only national park in the country.  While snapping some photos of the lake, a bundled up boy trotted by with his steed.

Band-e Amir national park

Band-e Amir National Park This stunning, pristine lake is untouched.  There were no other visitors while we circled around this crystal-blue and tranquil lake.

grand mosque herat

The Great Mosque of Herat.  Herat is a town in western Afghanistan.  The official completion of the mosque was in the 15th century.  I came here in darkness, watching the men leave from their first prayer, and stayed until after sunrise.

music at a tea shop

Man in a teashop.  Herat is a lively city and we stopped in at a local teahouse.  This man posed for a picture grabbing his instrument.

people in herat

Caravanserai in Herat.  Caravanserais dotted the Silk Road as merchants traveled between Europe and China.  Travelers would park their horses, grab a meal, and bed down for the night in the guest houses.  Unfortunately, in Herat most of the caravanserais are in a state of disrepair.  These two

iblue mosqu in mazar sharif

The Blue Mosque.  This had been on my bucket list for sometime.  The stunning azure tiles are incredibly alluring.  This 15th century in Mazar-i-Sharif was built in the late 15th century.  I was fortunate to visit both for sunset and sunrise.  A great place to interact with the locals and take a couple of selfies.


Buzkashi.  I have also dreamed of watching this sport.  I was lucky to see the sport at the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan.  But in Mazar-i-Sharif I was able to witness it in a more authentic and genuine setting.  This was a fantastic experience.

man in market in afghanistan

A man and his pomegranate Some of my favorite interactions take place doing the most banal of activities; pumping gas, going to a shop, or taking a taxi ride.  On the side to the road was pomegranate heaven.  The local shopkeepers rarely see a tourist, so it is fun for all of us to interact.  Stupa of Takht-e Rostam

Stupa of Takht-e Rostam.  Afghanistan today is very closely associated with Islam, but that was not always the case.  This Buddhist stupa was built in either the 4th or 5th century.  The stupa is carved directly into the bedrock.

boys in mazar sharif

Boys at a restaurant.  I met these three guys hanging out at a local restaurant.  I couldn’t figure out if they were working here, but they were happy to pose for some pictures.

cock fighting in mazar sharif

Cock fight in Mazar-i-Sharif.  Our group entered a non-descript building, and I was a bit surprised when I entered this auditorium.  Besides a mobile phone or two, I imagined that this could have been in the 18th century.

2o best photos of afghanistan

Rug merchant in Kabul.  Chicken Street in Kabul has been a well-known stop for decades for tourists whether they were on the hippie trail in the 1970s or US soldiers in the 2000s.  We stopped in this small shop, sipped tea, and admired the craftsmanship.  One design popular with some tourists is a rug with the World Trade Center.

2o best photos of afghanistan

Children’s Circus in Kabul I thought I would end on a high note.  The Children’s Circus has locations throughout Afghanistan.  Kids can spend time here learning circus skills and then have the opportunity to perform in front of their countrymen.

20 Best Photos Of Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan is my 140th country.

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