While ongoing violence has put an almost full stop to tourism in Afghanistan, the lack of visitors has nothing to do with the country’s sights. This is a land full of mystical attractions, telling tales of ancient times and offering beautiful Islamic architecture, medieval city quarters and unexpectedly stunning nature.
Although Afghans in general are very friendly to tourists, their country is not very safe because foreign tourists have been kidnapped and sometimes killed. Finding an honest and reliable tour guide is the key to safety in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a totally Islamic country. In Islam, a tourist or a traveler is called a musafir.
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Afghanistan is a volatile country, and downright dangerous in the southern and eastern areas. Non-essential travel is strongly discouraged.
Several sites are listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Most famous of course, were the ancient *Buddhist sculptures of Bamiyan (map). The Taliban destroyed most of the 6th century statues in a cultural crime that outraged the world. Today, what remains in the Bamiyan valley is the silencing and still worthwhile sight of the empty niches. The salvaged pieces of what were once the largest statues of their kind in the world continue to provide a fascinating insight in the history of this place.
Food should be approached with a discerning eye, as hygiene standards can often be lacking. Hot, freshly cooked food is generally safer. Bottled water is also advised, unless you have your own purification system.
Bring any prescription medicine you may need from your home country, and don’t count on being able to find it locally. You may also consider carrying pain relievers and anti-diarrheals, as they’ll be hard to find outside of major cities.