Qala Iktyaruddin – The “reborn” citadel of Alexander the Great in Herat

It dates back to 330 BC, when the king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and his army arrived to what is now Afghanistan after the Battle of Gaugamela. Many empires have used it as a headquarters in the last 2,000 years, and was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries.

The Citadel Of Herat is a reconstructed version of a historic ancient citadel dating from the time of Alexander the Great

It consists of two walled enclosures. The older compound to the east, found filled with debris, was partially excavated to reveal two courtyard structures. It has a roughly rectangular plan measuring about eighteen by forty-two meters, and it is protected with thirteen semi-circular towers, including two flanking a west-facing gate. It is also known as the “Upper Citadel,” based on its elevated site, and is built of fired bricks. The Kartid addition to the west, known as the “Lower Citadel,” has lower walls of baked brick and includes Timurid period military structures. Its polygonal plan measures about twenty-five by sixty meters with nine circular towers, of which six survive along the south and west walls.

The Citadel of Herat was saved from demolition in the 1950s, and was excavated and restored by UNESCO between 1976 and 1979. The National Museum of Herat is also housed inside the citadel.

The citadel of Herat was completely renovated between 2006 and 2011 / Image source

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