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Updated July 2023
Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan. It’s the largest city home to many gardens and mosques. It’s in the eastern section of the country offering multiple tourist destinations. Here are some popular things to do in Kabul.
1. Visit Babur Tomb
Located in the beautiful Babur Gardens is the tomb of the first Mughal emperor. The burial site is surrounded by a marble enclosure, 15 terraces along a central axis. The top tier offers a sweeping view of the Kabul River and distant snow-covered Himalayas.
This is the perfect spot for history buffs or nature lovers. Plus, it’s the perfect escape from the busy outside streets. So, your family can spend the day taking in the views or enjoying a picnic outdoors.
2. Swim in Qargha Lake
For those who enjoy water activities, this is a tranquil spot. You can go boating, surfing, or swimming. Unfortunately, this pastime is reserved for those of the male gender now that the Taliban has taken over control of the country once more.
It’s also near the green hills of the Pagham Valley. Qargha Lake is a great location for a family. It has activities for those of all ages. Your kids can splash around in the water while you relax in a scenic location. Also, consider bringing lunch and having a picnic. Just keep in mind Thursdays and Fridays are the busiest.
3. Explore the National Museum of Afghanistan
Do you enjoy learning about the past? Then this is a must-see on your list of things to do in Kabul. This museum displays pieces from the old stone age to the 20th century. There are also displays of ancient ceramic and 18th-century weapons. Learning about a different history can even teach your kids cultural tolerance.
One of the popular exhibits features artifacts and remains found in Buddhist monasteries. The museum is open Saturday through Wednesday. However, it’s closed on Thursday and then Friday afternoon.
4. Visit Darul Aman Palace
This place offers unique architectural views. It also provides a good glimpse into Afghanistan’s past. The name has a dual meaning, which also translates to “Abode of Peace.”
The palace was originally built by King Amanullah in a neo-classic European style. Recently it served as government offices and ministries. However, it was attacked during the 1990’s civil war. It was left in ruins until the restoration project in 2016. In April of 2020, it temporarily became an isolation and treatment center for those with COVID-19.
5. Take a Trip to the Christian Cemetery
This can be a humbling experience and a chance to pay tribute to military personnel, and is the only Christian cemetery in Afghanistan. It has a gravel pathway bordered by brick walls.
The cemetery was built by the British. It houses many generations of soldiers, doctors, and aid workers. So, you can learn more about the culture while in a quieter setting. Inside its high walls, remarkable rose gardens bloom, their beauty paying silent tribute to the deceased.
6. Spend the Day at the Shah-e Doh Shamshira Mosque
This site is perfect for spiritual people. It is located within a busy marketplace off the Kabul River. It features European-style architecture and is two stories.
The unique design style gives you a chance to see something different from the rest of the city. Shah-e Doh Shamshira Mosque is also a symbol of female empowerment. It is recognized as a place where women stood up for their rights. Unfortunately, those rights have largely been reversed, thanks to the Taliban takeover that occurred upon U.S. withdrawal from the region.
7. Head to Ziarat-e Sakhi
This is another one of the best things to do in Kabul for religious people. It’s a turquoise-colored dome shape.
The mosque was built by the king of Afghanistan Ahmed Shah Durani. It is located next to the hill and the street leading up has stalls selling various items, such as children’s toys or food.
8. Shop at the Kabul City Center
If you enjoy browsing unique items then this is the place to visit. It is an indoor shopping mall with multiple stories. For better access, there are escalators and elevators available. To increase your feeling of safety, the glass windows are explosive resistant. In addition, there are screening measures put in place.
Spending the day shopping is a good way to unwind after a few days of sightseeing. Plus, you may be able to find an early birthday or holiday present.
9. Experience the Omar Mine Museum
This museum displays the different types of landmines used in Afghanistan. In fact, the country is one of the most heavily mined in the world. Over 41,000 civilians have died or suffered serious injury from them since 1988.
The museum also showcases other military hardware from past conflicts. It’s a great place to explore with children interested in industrial equipment.
10. Take a Look at the Marjan the Lion Memorial
For those interested in animals this is a fun display to check out. The lion known as Marjan was one of the most famous animals held in the Kabul Zoo. His story is inspiring as he faced many bomb raidings and even lost an eye. Marjan is a symbol of reliance during a tough time. He is buried in the zoo with a bronze memorial statue of him at the entrance.
11. Bala Hissar & City Walls
This ancient fortress sits between the Koh-e Shir Darwaza mountains. It’s perfect for a walk featuring a stunning view of the capital. It starts at the foot of a cemetery and then goes past a traditional center for Kabul’s musicians.
12. Check Out the Sultani Museum
The gallery was created by a well-known gold and antique merchant. The museum features various ancient pieces. The main space showcases some Qurans, which is a religious text. There are also wooden stamps and an extensive old coin collection.
Things to Do In Kabul During Your Visit
Kabul offers a rich history and beautiful religious spaces. It also has areas to shop and pick up gifts for the family. So, here are the top things to do in Kabul when planning your trip.
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