places to visit in Herat

Herat, a city in western Afghanistan, is a treasure trove of cultural and historic sites that attract visitors from all over the world. With a rich history dating back thousands of years, Herat has flourished as a center of art, literature, and scholarship. Today, the city’s significant landmarks offer glimpses into its illustrious past and provide a deeper understanding of its current role as a hub of cultural heritage.

One of the must-visit places in Herat is the Herat Citadel, also known as Qala-i Ikhtyaruddin or Arg-e Herat. This ancient fortress stands as a symbol of Herat’s resilience and enduring beauty. It was built in the 12th century and has witnessed numerous dynasties and empires rise and fall. Surrounded by imposing walls, the citadel houses an array of architectural marvels, including mosques, gardens, and palaces. Its historical significance and stunning architecture make it a centerpiece of Herat’s cultural landscape.

Another fascinating site is the Friday Mosque of Herat, also called the Great Mosque of Herat. This magnificent structure boasts intricate tile work and detailed calligraphy, showcasing the region’s vibrant artistry. Inside, visitors are greeted with a spacious courtyard adorned with beautiful gardens and shaded arcades. The mosque’s origins can be traced back to the 12th century, but it has undergone several renovations over time. Today, it serves as a place of worship and a testament to Herat’s enduring spiritual heritage.

For those interested in literature and education, the Khwaja Abdullah Ansari Shrine is a prominent destination. Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, a celebrated Sufi poet and mystic, was born in Herat in the 11th century. His shrine, located in the city center, attracts devotees seeking spiritual solace. The peaceful ambiance and the profound teachings associated with the shrine make it a place of contemplation and enlightenment.

When exploring the streets of Herat, one cannot miss the mesmerizing Masjed Jama of Herat. This historic mosque is believed to be the oldest in Afghanistan and dates back to the 12th century. Its impeccable architectural design features intricate mosaic work, soaring minarets, and a central courtyard that exudes serenity. The mosque’s allure lies not only in its physical beauty but also in its cultural significance as a place of communal worship and connection.

In conclusion, a visit to Herat is a journey into the heart of Afghanistan’s rich heritage. With its awe-inspiring citadel, enchanting mosques, and revered shrines, Herat offers a captivating blend of history, art, and spirituality. These places tell the story of a city that has withstood the test of time and continues to thrive as a cultural haven in a tumultuous region.

Looking for the Best Places to Visit in Herat?

Are you planning a trip to Herat and wondering about the top attractions and must-visit places in this mesmerizing city? Well, you’re in for a treat! In this article, we will guide you through the diverse and enchanting places you should explore in beautiful Herat. From architectural wonders to historical sites and cultural experiences, we have it all covered. So, if you’re eager to discover the hidden gems and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of this ancient city, read on to find out more.

Historical Sites in Herat

Herat, located in western Afghanistan, is a city rich in historical and cultural heritage. Here are some of the top historical sites you should visit when in Herat:

  • Herat Citadel: Built in the 3rd century BC, the Herat Citadel is a remarkable architectural gem that has stood the test of time. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and houses the Afghan National Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of artifacts.
  • Friday Mosque of Herat: Also known as the Great Mosque of Herat, this stunning mosque dates back to the 12th century and showcases exquisite tile work and intricate calligraphy. Its elegant minarets and beautiful courtyard make it a must-visit site in Herat.
  • Ghurian Fort: Positioned on a hill overlooking the city, Ghurian Fort is a historical monument that highlights the region’s ancient past. With its rugged walls and strategic location, this fort provides a glimpse into Herat’s defensive history.

Cultural and Artistic Centers

Aside from its historical landmarks, Herat also offers vibrant cultural and artistic spaces that showcase the city’s creative side:

  • Herat School of Calligraphy: Known for its rich tradition of calligraphy, Herat has a renowned school where visitors can witness local artisans perfecting their craft. The school hosts exhibitions and workshops, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the art of calligraphy.
  • Herat Art Gallery: This contemporary art gallery features a diverse collection of works by local and international artists. It serves as a platform for emerging talent and often hosts cultural events and exhibitions.
  • Turquoise Mountain Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture: Founded with the aim of preserving traditional Afghan arts and crafts, this institute offers courses in ceramics, woodwork, miniature painting, and more. Visitors can explore the institute’s workshops and witness the mastery of Afghan artisans.

Natural Landscapes

Herat is adorned with mesmerizing natural landscapes that capture the beauty of the region:

  • Shindand Desert: Located in the outskirts of Herat, Shindand Desert is a vast expanse of golden sand dunes. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience desert life, enjoy camel rides, and witness breathtaking sunsets.
  • Qala-i-Khawaja: This beautiful park located by the Hari River is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. With its lush greenery, colorful flowers, and serene atmosphere, it’s an ideal place for picnics and relaxation.

When planning your visit to Herat, make sure to explore these historical sites, cultural centers, and natural landscapes to get a holistic experience of this captivating city.

Did you know? Herat’s Friday Mosque is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the world.

FAQs about Places to Visit in Herat

  1. What are some must-visit historical sites in Herat?

    Some of the must-visit historical sites in Herat include the Herat Citadel, Musalla Complex, Jama Masjid of Herat, Khwaja Abd Allah Ansari Shrine, and Gawhar Shad Madrasa.

  2. Are there any natural attractions near Herat?

    Yes, there are several natural attractions near Herat. These include the Minaret of Jam, the Qala-e Ikhtyaruddin Fortress, and the Zarar Cave.

  3. What are some popular markets or bazaars in Herat?

    Herat is known for its vibrant bazaars. Some popular ones include the Herat Grand Bazaar, Jumma Bazaar, and the Silk Road Herat Bazaar.

  4. What are the best times to visit Herat?

    The best times to visit Herat are during spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and mild.

  5. Can you recommend any traditional restaurants in Herat?

    Yes! Some traditional restaurants in Herat where you can savor authentic Afghan cuisine are Salam Namaste Restaurant, Safar Restaurant, and Baghshaan Restaurant.

  6. What are some family-friendly attractions in Herat?

    If you are visiting Herat with your family, consider visiting Park-e Taveel, Pusht e Gardan Park, and Herat Water Park, which offer recreational activities for all ages.

  7. Are there any nearby day trip options from Herat?

    Yes, there are several nearby day trip options from Herat. You could visit the Minaret of Jam, Hari River, Adraskan, or the Badghis Province.

  8. What are some famous religious landmarks in Herat?

    Famous religious landmarks in Herat include the Friday Mosque of Herat (Jama Masjid of Herat), Khwaja Abd Allah Ansari Shrine, and the Gawhar Shad Madrasa.

  9. Are there any museums in Herat?

    Yes, there are a few museums in Herat that are worth visiting. The Herat Museum, Salahuddin Ayubi Museum, and the National Museum of Afghanistan’s Herat branch are some notable options.

  10. What are some off-the-beaten-path attractions in Herat?

    If you are looking for off-the-beaten-path attractions in Herat, you should consider visiting the Herat School of Calligraphy, Qala Jangi Fortress, or the Qaws Mosque and Mausoleum.


Herat, with its rich historical and cultural heritage, offers a plethora of attractions for travelers seeking to explore this enchanting city. The highlight of any visit to Herat is undoubtedly the magnificent Herat Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a testament to the city’s medieval glory. The citadel’s intricate architecture, boasting stunning mosaics and delicate carvings, provides a glimpse into the artistic brilliance of the Timurid era. Another must-visit destination in Herat is the Friday Mosque, an architectural marvel dating back to the 12th century. With its towering minarets and splendid tile work, the mosque is a sacred site that showcases the city’s Islamic heritage.

In addition to its historical sites, Herat also boasts several natural and recreational attractions. The beautiful Gawhar Shad Gardens provide a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, with their manicured lawns, colorful flowers, and tranquil pools. For nature lovers, the nearby Shahr-e-Zohak hill offers a breath-taking panoramic view of Herat, with its dramatic red cliffs and striking rock formations. Lastly, a visit to the bustling Herat Bazaar is a must for those wanting to experience the vibrant local culture and indulge in some souvenir shopping. The bazaar offers a vast array of goods, including spices, carpets, handicrafts, and traditional Afghan clothing, providing a vibrant and authentic taste of Herat. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and captivating cultural offerings, Herat is undoubtedly a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.There are more places to visit in Herat

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