10 Amazing Facts About Afghanistan
Yes, I have this unrealistic, romantic view of Afghanistan. It’s dangerous, full of land mines, the Taliban and opium fields. The government is corrupt and we have lost way too many people to a war that probably will never be won. The Afghans have been practicing this for 3500 years. They’re just going to wait us out. However, there is incredible beauty and culture if you scratch the surface and dare to explore. I’m probably never going to get to travel there except through Pinterest, National Geographic, YouTube and tons of books where I do my research. For now that will be enough.
Many of the photos you see here come from photo journalist Steve McCurry, Matthew Paley, BuzzFeed, Tumblr and Pinterest. I encourage you to see the rest of these amazing pictures taken by photojournalist from around the world. https://www.pinterest.com/ptierneyjames/enigma-3-rooftop-angels/ I honor them for creating this visual history of Afghanistan.
- Afghanistan has one of the youngest populations in the world.
- Would you believe poetry is a big part of Afghans’ culture? On Thursday nights, in the city of Herat, women, men and children gather to share verses from old and new poetry.
- Persian (sometimes called Dari Persian) and Pashto is the official language of Afghanistan. Other languages such as Uzbek and Turkmen are also spoken.
- Afghanistan’s national game is called Buzkashi, which means goat-grabbing. The sport involves players on two teams that catch a goat while riding on a horse. It has been played for centuries and it even has sponsors for it nowadays. When the Taliban came into power they outlawed it but has now gained new popularity.
- A meal in Afghanistan is incomplete with no ‘naan,’ which is flat, unleavened bread.
- Afghan produces rugs that are very popular around the world.
- Another inspiration to me is the famous Hindu Kush, (It is an 800-kilometre-long mountain range that connects central Afghanistan & northern Pakistan). Mountain climbing anyone? It rises to over 18,000 feet.
- It might surprise you to know that before the Islamic invasion of the 9th Century, there was a Buddhist civilization known as Bamiyanin in the central highlands of Afghanistan. Here you could find the world’s two largest Buddha statues. People revered them not only as religious symbols, but as astonishing examples of ancient sculpture. The Taliban destroyed these cultural icons in 2001.
- There is a diverse animal population although some are endangered. Here are a few: Goitered gazelle, Leopard and Snow Leopard, Markor goat, Bactrian deer, Marco Polo sheep, bears, wolves, foxes, hyenas, jackals & mongooses, 380 bird species
10. The Kyrgyz I write about in Rooftop Angels can drink huge amounts of salty milk tea. At that altitude salt is good for rehydration. Unlike sugar, it is a condiment most available in the form of rock salt. You’ll love this! Yak and goat milk are boiled for hours until it becomes a paste-like substance. It is then sun-dried for a few days on top of a yurt. The dried curd is called kurut—it is hard as stone (you might actually need a real stone to break it! And be careful you don’t break a tooth.) Kurut can be dissolved in hot water and used in soups. Or you can break off a piece and move it around in your mouth from cheek to cheek to soften it up until it is fit to eat. Yum. No lattes on the roof of the world. I might have to reconsider that trip.