Here are 9 interesting facts about Afghanistan:
9. Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, is said to be the world’s most militant and extremist-affected city. The main area of the city is like a military cantonment. There are checkpoints at every short distance. Moreover, bomb disposal squads are always stationed. In some places, walls with the capacity to withstand big blasts, are built on both sides of the road.
8. The world’s first oil painting was not made in Europe, but in the caves of Bamiyan, a city in Afghanistan. There are hundreds of caves associated with Hindu and Buddhism in Afghanistan, at a place called Baminaya, some of which have huge sculptures of Lord Buddha. These caves in the mountains are believed to have been built in the 3 to 7 century AD.
7. Before 200, there existed a massive Buddhist statue of the world which was built before the 6th century. In 2001, two giant idols were broken by the Taliban. Both of these statues, built in the Gandhara style of sandstone, were once the tallest Buddha statues worldwide. These caves were used by Buddhist monks for meditation and solitude for centuries. About 700 Afghan families still live in some of these caves.
6. There was a time when Afghanistan was identified as a Hindu nation. The word Afghan is said to be derived from the Sanskrit word, Aśvakas. This country was a part of united India till the 7th century. Afghanistan was not even named until the beginning of the 17th century. In the Mahabharata period, Gandhara Mahajanapada resided in its northern region, due to which, its capital was called Kandahar.
5. Most people, when they think of Afghanistan, picture a landscape of undulating sand dunes and never-ending desert. You might be surprised that Afghanistan experiences harsh winters. In fact, from December to January, it is not uncommon for it to snow. This is particularly evident in the northern parts of Afghanistan, where they experience snowy white landscapes.
4. The Afghan population is ethnically diverse with 14 different ethnic tribes. This is partly due to silk traders travelling by the Silk Route from China to the Western world, creating a nomadic trait in Afghanistan.
3. The Afghan government adopted a newly written national anthem in 2006. Article 20 of the Afghan Constitution stipulated that the national anthem should focus on the phrase God is the Greatest and that various Afghan tribes should be mentioned. A total of 14 different ethnic groups are mentioned in the new national anthem.
2. Poetry is an important part of Afghan culture with a history of an oral poetic tradition dating back over a thousand years. Traditionally, stories are passed down from generation to generation in verse. As social issues have plagued the country, Afghans have used poetry to deal with these problems. More recently, women’s rights have been a popular subject in poetry. In the city of Herat, men and women from all generations gather on Thursday evenings to celebrate both vintage and modern poetry. Participants also listen to traditional Herati music.
1. Afghans celebrate New Year’s Eve on 21 March. This date marks the pre-Islamic festival known as Nowruz. It is also traditionally the first day of spring. Thousands of Afghans travel to the city of Mazar-e-Sharif to join in the celebrations. Here, local men raise a large Islamic banner known as the Janda, to herald the start of a new year and the beginning of spring. If they successfully lift this banner easily and swiftly, in one motion, then this is taken to be a good omen for the year to come.
This was all for Afghanistan. Do let us know in the comments section if you found these facts interesting!