Afghanistan’s capital is more than 3,500 years old, and over the centuries the city has been part of many empires.
In 1504, shortly after it became a trading powerhouse, Kabul was captured by the Mughal Emperor Babur. Today, you can see evidence of his rule in one of the city’s most famous tourist attractions: the Gardens of Babur, a favorite hangout for locals as well as visitors. It’s easy to see why the emperor’s final wish was to be buried here.
In the 1700s came the rule of the Afghan Empire, and Kabul became its focal point. That’s when the capital really began to develop as a destination for education, business, and culture. Then the boom of the 20th century brought with it even more prosperity and activity.
In ancient texts, Kabul was described as a "vision of paradise." Now the city houses many modern attractions, including museums, parks, lakes, and galleries, all nestled alongside its truly impressive architectural highlights and cultural sites.
But perhaps the biggest draw of the city is actually found beyond its center. Located in the heart of a valley and surrounded by miles and miles of mountains, the natural beauty of Kabul is astounding, and relatively easy to reach from the city. Centuries ago, local people built a large wall around their kingdom (then named Kabul-Shahan) and parts of the wall remain today. A hike around these ruins is a strenuous but beautiful way to soak up the atmosphere.