Afghanistan: Architecture

Koh Daman is a favourite country residence of the wealthy inhabitants of Kabul, and is almost as thickly studded with castles as with gardens. They are strongly built, and are, in fact, mimic representations of the old baronial residences in our own land.

John Wood, A Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Source of the River Oxus: By the Route of the Indus, Kabul, and Badakhshan (1841)

Mrs Rudolph and I were ushered in, and found ourselves in a good sized room with bare rafters and painted walls, full of little arched recesses, about four feet from the ground, which served for shelves and cupboards…The room was painted with flowers on a white ground,  a sort of imitation of Florentine mosaic; it has three doors opening into the inner court where the women sleep in the open air, cook &c., and on the opposite side, as many leading to the outer court, which, when the women occupy this room, are kept closed, with thick wedded curtains of yellow cotton, bordered with red, over them.

Mrs Colin Mackenzie, Life in the Mission, the Camp and the Zenana: Or Six Years in India (1854)

On millionaires’ row in Herat, elaborate palaces are being built by businessmen who have made fortunes from exploiting the needs of the new Afghanistan – or selling heroin. A heady mix of Iranian, Italian and Gulf influences, the houses have created a new school of design: Narcotecture.

Ash Sweeting and Rachel Morarjee, “Narcotecture in Afghanistan,” Monocle (2010)

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