On the edge of Farah City sits a Citadel, an old fortress. Looking out over this western desert city, the Citadel covers the distance of one kilometre from the corner of an interior wall to the opposite corner. The fortress walls are 50 feet high.
The origins of the Citadel have been lost in the vast passage of time since its construction. Some claim it was built by Alexander the Great. Others say it was built by a Zoroastrian warrior in the time of Darius the Great.
There are others who believe the Citadel is much more modern, only 200 to 300 years old. Some renovations built atop the ancient foundation may add to the confusion regarding the age of the Citadel.
Farid Ahmad Ayubi, head of the department of Information and Culture in Farah province, believes the Citadel was built by King Faraidoon about 600 years before the birth of Islam.
“King Faraidoon was strong and clever and tried to be prepared to face any challenges to his kingdom. The castle demonstrates this very well,” said Mr Ayubi. “When a person looks at the castle he understands the techniques that King Faraidoon used to create stability. These include thick walls and multiple towers for defence and observation.”
According to Mr Ayubi, the domed ceilings and mud walls of the fortress reflect the same construction used in many Farahi homes today. The combination of shape and natural building materials keep the rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Outside the walls of the Citadel, an old man named Ghollam Ghows said he has heard stories about the fortress and a golden era in the Faraidoon Kingdom when the castle housed a city with all the systems needed to keep it running.
“Today it needs repairs in order to keep it safe,” said Mr Ghows. I think many tourists would come to Farah just to see this castle. But first, it needs to be repaired.”
The Citadel has fallen into disrepair over the centuries. Inside the walls sit the remains of rusting Soviet-style vehicles and shepherds roam the grounds with flocks of sheep. Mujahedeen fighters used it as an arms depot during the 1980s. Today the local people use the space for family picnics.
According to Mr Ayubi, a proposal has been submitted to the Ministry of Information and Culture requesting funds to repair the historic site.
The Citadel and other historical sites are important for Afghanistan future. Once the country is stable, people, who are interested in history, would want to travel to Afghanistan to see all the treasures Afghanistan has to offer. Historical monuments of Afghanistan would be a valuable advertisement for the country and its future as a touristic venue.
Tourism would provide jobs for thousands of people and increase the economic development of Afghanistan.