Thanks to 20 years of civil war and its association with terrorism, Afghanistan is often unjustly thought of in the West as a barbarous backwater. This guide dispels that image in a comprehensive introduction to 3,500 years of Afghan culture. Starting with a full history of the country from 1500 BC, each chapter looks at the major cities and regions, describing their distinctive cultural and ethnic traditions, and their associations with poets, artists, musicians, travelers, and holy men, as well as warriors and conquerors. Ancient and modern sources from Afghanistan are extensively quoted, as well as the thoughts, musings, and experiences of writers from America, Europe, Russia, China, India, and the Middle East. Wonderfully illustrated, this book also features engravings, paintings, and images of priceless museum artifacts. A number of specialist essays by leading experts present topics such as archeology, architecture, carpets, flora and fauna, miniature painting, and music.
This new edition contains the latest travel updates from the ground, a new special topic on Kabul's Bala Hissar--one of the world's greatest but least well-known Mughal forts--and a new essay on Afghanistan's search for unity, providing the full historical background for the political struggle which Afghanistan is now facing. 307 color photos, 19 maps & plans.