ID:5775 Section:

Updated:Tuesday 14th October 2014

Herat Definition

Herat is a major city in western Afghanistan, capital of the province also known as Herat. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan. Herat’s history dates back to ancient times. Under the Achaemenid Empire, the surrounding district was known as Haraiva (in Old Persian), and in classical sources the region was correspondingly known as Aria Satrapy (Areia). In the Zoroastrian holy book Avesta, the district is mentioned as Haroiva. The name of the district and its main town is derived from that of the chief river of the region, the Hari River (Old Iranian Harayu, "Golden Water"), which traverses the district and passes some 5 km south of modern Herat. Hari is mentioned in Sanskrit as yellow or golden color equivalent to Persian Zar meaning gold. In the Sassanid period (226-652), Harev is listed in an inscription on the Cube of Zoroaster at Naghsh-e Rostam; and Hariy is mentioned in the Pahlavi catalogue of the provincial capitals of the empire. In around 430, the town is also listed as having a Christian community, with a Nestorian bishop.In the last two centuries of Sassanid rule, Aria had great strategic importance in the endless wars between the Sassanid, the Chionites and the Hephthalites who had been settled in modern northern Afghanistan since the late fourth century.The city of Herat became well known with the advent of the Arabs in the middle of the 7th century. When the Arab armies appeared in Khorasan in the 650s, Herat was counted among the twelve capital towns of the Sassanid Empire. In around 786-809, Herat was part of the Abbasid Caliphate, later, it was ruled by the Tahirid dynasty, and after 867-869, the Saffarid dynasty took control.Herat was under the rule of King Nuh III of Samanid the seventh of the Samanid line, at the time of Saboktakin and his older son, Sultan Mahmoud Ghaznavi.The governor of Herat was a noble by the name of Faik[10], who governed on behalf of Nuh III. Faik was a powerful, but insubordinate governor of Nuh III; and had been punished by Nuh III. Faik made overtures to Bogra Khan and Ughar Khan of Turkestan. Bogra Khan answered Faik's call, came to Herat and became its master. The Samanids fled, betrayed at the hands of Faik to whom the defense of Herat had been entrusted by Nuh III.In 994, Nuh III invited Alptekin to come to his aid. Alptekin, along with Sultan Mahmoud Ghaznavi, defeated Faik and annexed Herat, Neishabour and Tus.Before 1040, Herat was ruled by the Ghaznavi Dynasty. In 1040, it was captured by the Seljuk Empire. Yet, in 1175, it was captured by the Ghorids and then came under the Kharazm Empire. Herat was captured by the Mongols in (Wikipedia) - Herat For the city in Iran, see Herat, Iran. Herāt هرات Country Province Elevation Population (2012)  • Total   Time zone
From top left to right: Overview of Herat City; Herat Airport; View from the Herat Citadel; A view of the Old City from the Citadel; Citadel of Herat; Friday Mosque of Herat; Musalla Complex
Nickname(s): (هری(هریوا
HerātLocation in Afghanistan
Coordinates: 34°20′31″N 62°12′11″E / 34.34194°N 62.20306°E / 34.34194; 62.20306Coordinates: 34°20′31″N 62°12′11″E / 34.34194°N 62.20306°E / 34.34194; 62.20306
Herat Province
920 m (3,020 ft)
Afghanistan Standard Time (UTC+4:30)

Herāt (/hɛˈrɑːt/; Persian: هرات) is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 436,300 as of 2012, which mostly consists out of Tajiks. It serves as the capital of Herat province and is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan. The city is linked with Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif via highway 1 or the ring road that stretches across the country. It is further linked to the city of Mashhad in Iran through the border town of Islam Qala.

Situated in a fertile area, Herāt dates back to the Avestan times and was traditionally known for its wine. The city has a number of historic sites, including the Herat Citadel and the Mosallah Complex. During the Middle Ages Herāt became one of the important cities of Khorasan, as it was known as the Pearl of Khorasan. In 1717, the city was captured by the Hotaki dynasty until they were defeated by the Afsharids in 1736. After Nadir Shah''s death, Herat became part of the Durrani Empire in 1747. It saw some actions during the 19th century Anglo-Afghan wars. Much of the city has been spared from destructions that occurred in other cities of Afghanistan during the wars since 1978.

Herāt lies on the ancient trade routes of the Middle East, Central and South Asia. The roads from Herāt to Iran, Turkmenistan, and other parts of Afghanistan are still strategically important. As the gateway to Iran, it collects the highest amount of customs revenue for Afghanistan. The city has an international airport.

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Islamization
    • 1.2 Pearl of Khorasan
    • 1.3 Modern history
      • 1.3.1 Since 1979
  • 2 Climate
  • 3 Demography
    • 3.1 Notable people from Herat
  • 4 Transport
    • 4.1 Air
    • 4.2 Rail
  • 5 Places of interest
  • 6 Gallery
  • 7 Herāt in fiction
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links

History See also: Timeline of Herat Further information: History of AfghanistanReconstruction of Ptolemy''s map (2nd century AD) of Aria (Herāt) and neighbouring states by the 15th century German cartographer Nicolaus Germanus

Herat dates back to ancient times, but its exact age remains unknown. During the period of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BC), the surrounding district was known as Haraiva (in Old Persian), and in classical sources the region was correspondingly known as Aria (Areia) as part of the Achaemenids more eastern regions. In the Zoroastrian Avesta, the district is mentioned as Haroiva. The name of the district and its main town is derived from that of the chief river of the region, the Hari River (Old Iranian Harayu, "Golden Water"), which traverses the district and passes some 5 km (3.1 mi) south of modern Herāt. Hari is mentioned in Sanskrit as yellow or golden color equivalent to Persian Zar meaning Gold (yellow). The naming of a region and its principal town after the main river is a common feature in this part of the world—compare the adjoining districts/rivers/towns of Arachosia and Bactria.

History of Afghanistan
Indus valley civilization 2200–1800 BC
Oxus civilization 2100–1800 BC
Aryans 1700–700 BC
Medes 728–550 BC
Achaemenids 550–330 BC
Seleucids 330–150 BC
Mauryans 305–180 BC
Greco-Bactrians 256–125 BC
Indo-Greeks 180–130 BC
Indo-Scythians (Sakas) 155–80? BC
Indo-Parthians 20 BC – 50? AD
Kushans 135 BC – 248 AD
Sasanians 230–651
Kidarites 320–465
Hephthalites 410–557
Kabul Shahi 565–879
Principality of Chaghaniyan 7th–8th centuries
Rashidun Caliphate 652–661
Umayyads 661–750
Abbasids 750–821
Tahirids 821–873
Saffarids 863–900
Samanids 875–999
Ghaznavids 963–1187
Ghurids before 879–1215
Khwarezmids 1215–1231
Ilkhanate 1258–1353
Chagatai Khanate 1225–1370
Khiljis 1290–1320
Karts 1245–1381
Timurids 1370–1506
Arghuns 1479–1522
Mughals 1501–1738
Safavids 1510–1709
Hotaki Empire 1709–1738
Durrani Empire 1747–1826
Emirate of Afghanistan 1826–1919
Kingdom of Afghanistan 1919–1973
Republic of Afghanistan 1973–1978
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan 1978–1992
Islamic State of Afghanistan 1992–2001
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan 1996–2001
Interim/Transitional Administration 2001–2004
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan since 2004
  • Book
  • Category
  • Portal
  • v
  • t
  • e

The district Aria of the Persian Achaemenid Empire is mentioned in the provincial lists that are included in various royal inscriptions, for instance, in the Behistun inscription of Darius I (ca. 520 BC). Representatives from the district are depicted in reliefs, e.g., at the royal Achaemenid tombs of Naqsh-e Rustam and Persepolis. They are wearing Scythian-style dress (with a tunic and trousers tucked into high boots) and a twisted Bashlyk that covers their head, chin and neck.

Hamdallah Mustawfi, composer of the 14th century work The Geographical Part of the Nuzhat-al-Qulub writes that:

"Herāt was the name of one of the chiefs among the followers of the hero Narīmān, and it was he who first founded the city. After it had fallen to ruin Alexander the Great rebuilt it, and the circuit of its walls was 9000 paces."

Herodotus described Herāt as the bread-basket of Central Asia. At the time of Alexander the Great in 330 BC, Aria was obviously an important district. It was administered by a satrap called Satibarzanes, who was one of the three main Persian officials in the East of the Empire, together with the satrap Bessus of Bactria and Barsaentes of Arachosia. In late 330 BC, Alexander captured the Arian capital that was called Artacoana. The town was rebuilt and the citadel was constructed. What is now Afghanistan became part of the Seleucid Empire after Alexander died, which formed an alliance with the Indian Maurya Empire. Roman Historian Strabo writes that the Seleucids later gave the area south of the Hindu Kush to the Mauryas after a treaty was made.

"Alexander took these away from the Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants."

However, all sources suggest that Herat was predominantly Zoroastrian and there is evidence of Hinduism or Buddhism making its way into this region through the Maurya empire, the city was where edicts of Ashoka. Leader Chandragupta Maurya called the city one of his own western capitals near the Iranian border. It became part of the Iranian Parthian Empire in 167 BC as part of its eastern regions. In the Sasanian period (226-652), Harēv is listed in an inscription on the Ka''ba-i Zartosht at Naqsh-e Rustam; and Hariy is mentioned in the catalogue of the provincial capitals of the empire. In around 430, the town is also listed as having a Christian community, with a Nestorian bishop.

In the last two centuries of Sasanian rule, Aria (Herāt) had great strategic importance in the endless wars between the Sasanians, the Chionites and the Hephthalites who had been settled in modern northern Afghanistan since the late 4th century.

Islamization Further information: Islamic conquest of AfghanistanInside the famous Friday Mosque of Herat or Masjid Jami, which is one of the oldest mosques in Afghanistan.

At the time of the Arab invasion in the middle of the 7th century, the Sasanian central power seemed already largely nominal in the province in contrast with the role of the Hephthalites tribal lords, who were settled in the Herat region and in the neighboring districts, mainly in pastoral Bādghis and in Qohestān. It must be underlined, however, that Herat remained one of the three Sasanian mint centers in the east, the other two being Balkh and Marv. The Hephthalites from Herat and some unidentified Turks opposed the Arab forces in a battle of Qohestān in 651-52 AD, trying to block their advance on Nishāpur, but they were defeated

When the Arab armies appeared in Khorāsān in the 650s AD, Herāt was counted among the twelve capital towns of the Sasanian Empire. The Arab army under the general command of Ahnaf ibn Qais in its conquest of Khorāsān in 652 seems to have avoided Herāt, but it can be assumed that the city submitted to the Arabs, since shortly afterwards an Arab governor is mentioned there. A treaty was drawn in which the regions of Bādghis and Bushanj were included. As did many other places in Khorāsān, Herāt rebelled and had to be re-conquered several times. In 702 AD Yazid ibn al-Muhallab defeated certain Arab rebels, followers of Ibn al-Ash''ath, and forced them out of Herat. The city was the scene of conflicts between different groups of Muslims and Arab tribes in the disorders leading to the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate. Herat was also a centre of the followers of Ustadh Sis.

In 870 AD, Yaqub ibn Layth Saffari, a local ruler of the Saffarid dynasty conquered Herat and the rest of the nearby regions in the name of Islam.

"...Arab armies carrying the banner of Islam came out of the west to defeat the Sasanians in 642 AD and then they marched with confidence to the east. On the western periphery of the Afghan area the princes of Herat and Seistan gave way to rule by Arab governors but in the east, in the mountains, cities submitted only to rise in revolt and the hastily converted returned to their old beliefs once the armies passed. The harshness and avariciousness of Arab rule produced such unrest, however, that once the waning power of the Caliphate became apparent, native rulers once again established themselves independent. Among these the Saffarids of Seistan shone briefly in the Afghan area. The fanatic founder of this dynasty, the coppersmith’s apprentice Yaqub ibn Layth Saffari, came forth from his capital at Zaranj in 870 AD and marched through Bost, Kandahar, Ghazni, Kabul, Bamiyan, Balkh and Herat, conquering in the name of Islam."

—N. DupreePearl of Khorasan Further information: Tahirid Dynasty, Saffarid Dynasty, Ghaznavids, Ghurid Dynasty, Timurid Dynasty and Safavid Dynasty

The region of Herāt was under the rule of King Nuh III, the seventh of the Samanid line—at the time of Sebük Tigin and his older son, Mahmud of Ghazni. The governor of Herāt was a noble by the name of Faik, who was appointed by Nuh III. It is said that Faik was a powerful, but insubordinate governor of Nuh III; and had been punished by Nuh III. Faik made overtures to Bogra Khan and Ughar Khan of Khorasan. Bogra Khan answered Faik''s call, came to Herāt and became its ruler. The Samanids fled, betrayed at the hands of Faik to whom the defence of Herāt had been entrusted by Nuh III. In 994, Nuh III invited Alp Tigin to come to his aid. Alp Tigin, along with Mahmud of Ghazni, defeated Faik and annexed Herāt, Nishapur and Tous.

High-spouted brass ewer, from Herat, Seljuk period (AD 1180-1200), British Museum.Battleground of Timur and Egyptian King, by Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād Herawī, a famous painter from Herat, c. 1494-1495, Timurid eraPage of calligraphy in nasta''liq script by the 16th century master calligrapher Mir ''Ali HeraviBrass cup or tankard, Timurid period, 15th century A.D., from Herāt.Afghan royal soldiers of the Durrani Empire.

Herāt was a great trading centre strategically located on trade routes from Mediterranean Sea to India or to China. The city was noted for its textiles during the Abbasid Caliphate, according to many references in the geographers. Herāt also had many learned sons such as Ansārī. The city is described by Estakhri and Ibn Hawqal in the 10th century as a prosperous town surrounded by strong walls with plenty of water sources, extensive suburbs, an inner citadel, a congregational mosque, and four gates, each gate opening to a thriving market place. The government building was outside the city at a distance of about a mile in a place called Khorāsānābād. A church was still visible in the countryside northeast of the town on the road to Balkh, and farther away on a hilltop stood a flourishing fire temple, called Sereshk, or Arshak according to Mustawfi.

Herat was a part of the Taherid dominion in Khorāsān until the rise of the Saffarids in Sistān under Ya''qub-i Laith in 861, who, in 862, started launching raids on Herat before besieging and capturing it on 16 August 867, and again in 872. The Saffarids succeeded in expelling the Taherids from Khorasan in 873.

The Sāmānid dynasty was established in Transoxiana by three brothers, Nuh, Yahyā, and Ahmad. Ahmad Sāmāni opened the way for the Samanid dynasty to the conquest of Khorāsān, including Herāt, which they were to rule for one century. The centralized Samanid administration served as a model for later dynasties. The Samanid power was destroyed in 999 by the Qarakhanids, who were advancing on Transoxiana from the northeast, and by the Ghaznavids, former Samanid retainers, attacking from the southeast.

Sultan Maḥmud of Ghazni officially took control of Khorāsān in 998. Herat was one of the six Ghaznavid mints in the region. In 1040, Herat was captured by the Seljuk Empire. Yet, in 1175, it was captured by the Ghurids of Ghor and then came under the Khawarazm Empire in 1214. According to the account of Mustawfi, Herat flourished especially under the Ghurid dynasty in the 12th century. Mustawfi reported that there were "359 colleges in Herat, 12,000 shops all fully occupied, 6,000 bath-houses; besides caravanserais and mills, also a darwish convent and a fire temple". There were about 444,000 houses occupied by a settled population. The men were described as "warlike and carry arms", and they were Sunni Muslims. The great mosque of Herāt was built by Ghiyas ad-Din Ghori in 1201. In this period Herāt became an important center for the production of metal goods, especially in bronze, often decorated with elaborate inlays in precious metals.

Herāt was invaded and destroyed by Genghis Khan''s Mongol army in 1221. The city was destroyed a second time and remained in ruins from 1222 to about 1236. In 1244 a local prince Shams al-Din Kart was named ruler of Herāt by the Mongol governor of Khorāsān and in 1255 he was confirmed in his rule by the founder of the Il-Khan dynasty Hulagu. Shams al-Din founded a new dynasty and his successors, especially Fakhr-al-Din and Ghiyath al-Din, built many mosques and other buildings. The members of this dynasty were great patrons of literature and the arts. By this time Herāt became known as the pearl of Khorasan.

"If any one ask thee which is the pleasantest of cities, Thou mayest answer him aright that it is Herāt. For the world is like the sea, and the province of Khurāsān like a pearl-oyster therein, The city of Herāt being as the pearl in the middle of the oyster."

Rumi, 1207-1273 A.D.

Timur took Herat in 1380 and he brought the Kartid dynasty to an end a few years later, but the city reached its greatest glory under the Timurid princes, especially Sultan Husayn Bayqara who ruled Herat from 1469 to 912/1506. His chief minister, the poet and author in Persian and Turkish, Mir Ali-Shir Nava''i was a great builder and patron of the arts. Under the Timurids, Herat assumed the role of the main capital of an empire that extended in the West as far as central Persia. As the capital of the Timurid empire, it boasted many fine religious buildings and was famous for its sumptuous court life and musical performance and its tradition of miniature paintings. On the whole, the period was one of relative stability, prosperity, and development of economy and cultural activities. It began with the nomination of Shahrokh, the youngest son of Timur, as governor of Herat in 1397. The reign of Shahrokh in Herat was marked by intense royal patronage, building activities, and promotion of manufacturing and trade, especially through the restoration and enlargement of the Herat’s bāzār. The present Mosalla Complex, and many buildings such as the madrasa of Goharshad, Ali Shir mahāl, many gardens, and others, date from this time. The village of Gazargah, or Gazur Gah, over two km northeast of Herat, contained a shrine which was enlarged and embellished under the Timurids. The tomb of the poet and mystic Khwājah Abdullāh Ansārī (d. 1088), was first rebuilt by Shahrokh about 1425, and other famous men were buried in the shrine area. Herat was shortly captured by Kara Koyunlu between 1458-1459.

In 1507 Herat was occupied by the Uzbeks but after much fighting the city was taken by Shah Isma''il, the founder of the Safavid dynasty, in 1510 and the Shamlu Qizilbash assumed the governorship of the area. Under the Safavids, Herat was again relegated to the position of a provincial capital, albeit one of a particular importance. At the death of Shah Isma''il the Uzbeks again took Herat and held it until Shah Tahmasp retook it in 1528. Several times later for brief periods the Uzbeks held the city but the Safavids ruled it most of the time until the revolt of the Ghilzai and Abdali Afghans in 1716. Several Safavid expeditions to retake the city failed, and the Abdalis remained in possession of the city until 1736 when they submitted to Nader Shah. In 1747 the nephew of Nader Shah, one Aliqoli Khan, revolted in Herat but after Nader''s death in that year Herat fell under Afghan rule.

Modern history Further information: Hotaki dynasty and Durrani Empire

From 1725 to 1736 Herat was controlled by the Hotaki Pashtuns until King Nader Shah''s of Persia retook the city and destroyed the Hotakis for good. After Nader Shah''s death in 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani took possession of the city and became part of the Durrani Empire. Ahmad Shah Durrani''s father, Zaman Khan, was the governor of Herat province before the Ghilzai''s conquer of the region. Zaman Khan and several of his family members were killed while his son Ahmad Khan (Durrani) and Zulfiqar Khan were taken as prisoners to Kandahar in the south.

NATO-trained Afghan National Police (ANP) at the Regional Training Center (RTC) in 2009.

In 1816 the Persians captured the city but abandoned it shortly after. Two years later a second Persian campaign against the city was defeated at the Battle of Kafir Qala.

In 1824, Herat became independent for several years when the Afghan empire was split between the Durranis and the Barakzais. The Persian Qajars tried to take city from the Durranis in 1838 and again in 1856; both times the British helped extensively to repel the Persians, the second time through the Anglo-Persian War. The city fell to Dost Mohammad Khan of the Barakzai dynasty in 1863. Most of the Musallah complex in Herat was cleared in 1885 by the British army to get a good line of sight for their artillery against Russian invaders who never came. This was but one small sidetrack in the Great Game, a century-long conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire in the 19th century.

View of Herat from a hill in 2009.Afghan and U.S. government officials along with members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at Herat International Airport in 2012.

In the 1960s, engineers from the United States built Herat Airport, which was used by the Soviet forces during the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Since 1979

Even before the Soviet invasion at the end of 1979, there was a substantial presence of Soviet advisors in the city with their families. Between March 10 and March 20, 1979, Afghan army in Herāt under the control of Ismail Khan mutinied. Reprisals by the Afghan government followed, and between 3,000 and 5,000 people were killed, in what is called the 1979 Herat uprising. The city itself was recaptured with tanks and airborne forces. This made Herat the bloodiest city pre-Soviet war.

Herat was largely destroyed in the 1980s due to the war. In April 1983, a series of Soviet bombs damaged half of the city and killed around 3,000 civilians, described as "extremely heavy, brutal and prolonged".

Ismail Khan became the leading mujahideen commander in Herāt. After the departure of the Soviets, he became governor of Herat Province. In September 1995 the city was captured by the Taliban without much resistance, forcing Ismail Khan to flee. However, after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, on November 12, 2001, it was liberated from the Taliban by forces loyal to the Northern Alliance and Ismail Khan returned to power (see Battle of Herat). In 2004, Mirwais Sadiq, Aviation Minister of Afghanistan and the son of Ismail Khan, was ambushed and killed in Herāt by a local rival group. More than 200 people were arrested under suspicion of involvement.

Herāt is now fully under the control of Afghanistan''s new central government, led by Hamid Karzai, who was initially backed by the United States. The Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police provide security in the city as well as the whole province. Regional Command West, led by Italy, is the International Security Assistance Force presence in the area, which assists the local Afghan military headquarters, the ANA 207th Corps. Herat was one of the first seven areas that transitioned security responsibility from NATO to Afghanistan. On July 21, 2011, Afghan security forces assumed lead security responsibility from NATO. On the occasion, Minister of Defense Wardak told the audience, “this is our national responsibility to take over our security and defend our country."

Due to their close connection, Iran began investing in the development of Herat''s power, economy and education sectors. As a result, the city now enjoys 24-hour electricity, paved roads, and a higher sense of security. In the meantime, the United States built a consulate in Herat to help further strengthen its relations with Afghanistan. In addition to the usual services, the consulate works with the local officials on development projects and with security issues in the region.

Climate Herāt Climate chart (explanation)
    52   9 −3     45   12 −1     55   18 4     29   24 9     9.8   30 13     0   35 18     0   37 21     0   35 19     0   31 13     1.7   25 7     11   18 1     36   12 −1
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: World Climate Charts
Imperial conversion
    2   48 27     1.8   53 31     2.2   64 39     1.1   75 48     0.4   85 56     0   95 65     0   98 70     0   95 67     0   89 56     0.1   77 45     0.4   64 34     1.4   54 29
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

Herāt has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk).

Precipitation is very low, and mostly falls in winter. Although Herāt is approximately 240 m (790 ft) lower than Kandahar, the summer climate is more temperate, and the climate throughout the year is far from disagreeable. From May to September, the wind blows from the northwest with great force.

The winter is tolerably mild; snow melts as it falls, and even on the mountains does not lie long. Three years out of four it does not freeze hard enough for the people to store ice. The eastern reaches of the Hari River, including the rapids, are frozen hard in the winter, and people travel on it as on a road.

Climate data for Herāt Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °C (°F) Average high °C (°F) Daily mean °C (°F) Average low °C (°F) Record low °C (°F) Precipitation mm (inches) Avg. rainy days Avg. snowy days  % humidity Mean monthly sunshine hours
24.4 (75.9) 27.6 (81.7) 31.0 (87.8) 37.8 (100) 39.7 (103.5) 44.6 (112.3) 50.0 (122) 42.7 (108.9) 39.3 (102.7) 37.0 (98.6) 30.0 (86) 26.5 (79.7) 50 (122)
9.1 (48.4) 11.9 (53.4) 17.9 (64.2) 24.0 (75.2) 29.6 (85.3) 35.0 (95) 36.7 (98.1) 35.1 (95.2) 31.4 (88.5) 25.0 (77) 17.8 (64) 12.0 (53.6) 23.79 (74.83)
2.9 (37.2) 5.5 (41.9) 10.2 (50.4) 16.3 (61.3) 22.1 (71.8) 27.2 (81) 29.8 (85.6) 28.0 (82.4) 22.9 (73.2) 16.1 (61) 8.8 (47.8) 4.7 (40.5) 16.21 (61.18)
−2.9 (26.8) −0.6 (30.9) 3.8 (38.8) 9.1 (48.4) 13.3 (55.9) 18.2 (64.8) 21.2 (70.2) 19.2 (66.6) 13.2 (55.8) 7.4 (45.3) 1.0 (33.8) −1.4 (29.5) 8.46 (47.23)
−26.7 (−16.1) −20.5 (−4.9) −13.3 (8.1) −2.3 (27.9) 0.8 (33.4) 9.7 (49.5) 14.7 (58.5) 8.4 (47.1) 1.3 (34.3) −5.6 (21.9) −12.8 (9) −22.7 (−8.9) −26.7 (−16.1)
51.6 (2.031) 44.8 (1.764) 55.1 (2.169) 29.2 (1.15) 9.8 (0.386) 0.0 (0) 0.0 (0) 0.0 (0) 0.0 (0) 1.7 (0.067) 10.9 (0.429) 35.8 (1.409) 238.9 (9.405)
6 8 8 7 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 5 40
2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6
72 69 62 56 45 34 30 30 34 42 55 67 49.7
149.3 153.5 202.5 235.7 329.6 362.6 378.6 344.8 323.2 274.0 235.0 143.1 3,131.9
Source: NOAA (1959-1983)
Demography Further information: Demography of AfghanistanSchool girls in Herat

The population of Herat numbers approximately 436,300 as of 2012. It is a multi-ethnic society with Tajiks being the majority and roughly the same as the Persians of eastern Iran. There is no official data on the precise ethnic make-over but according to a 2003 map found in the National Geographic Magazine, the percentage figure of ethnic groups was given as follows: 85% Tajiks, 10% Pashtuns, 2% Hazaras, 2% Uzbeks and 1% Turkmens.

Persian serves as the lingua franca of the city. It is the native language of Herat and the local dialect - known by natives as Herātī - belongs to the Khorāsānī cluster within Persian. It is akin to the Persian dialects of eastern Iran, notably those of Mashhad and Khorasan Province. The second language that is understood by many is Pashto, which is the native language of the Pashtuns. Religiously, Sunni Islam is practiced by the majority and the remaining people are Shia.

Notable people from Herat
  • Khwājah Abdullāh Ansārī, a famous Persian poet of the 11th century
  • Nūr ud-Dīn Jāmī, a famous Persian Sufi poet of the 15th century
  • Nizām ud-Din ʿAlī Shīr Navā''ī, famous poet and politician of the Timurid era
  • Ustād Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād, the greatest of the medieval Persian painters
  • Gowharšād, wife of Shāhrūkh Mīrzā
  • Mīrzā Shāhrūkh bin Tīmur Barlas, Emperor of the Timurid dynasty of Herāt
  • Mīrzā Husseyn Bāyqarāh, Emperor of the Timurid dynasty of Herāt
  • Shāh Abbās The Great, Emperor of Safavid Persia
  • Abbās Qullī Khān Shāmlū, Safavid Governor of Herat Province (1812)
  • Latīf Nāzemī, famous poet of modern times
  • Sultan Jan, ex-ruler of Herat.
  • Ismail Khan, former governor of Herat Province and Minister of Water and Energy
Transport Air Main article: Herat International AirportHerat International Airport

Herat International Airport was built by engineers from the United States in the 1960s and was used by the Soviet Armed Forces during the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It was bombed in late 2001 during Operation Enduring Freedom but has been rebuilt in the last decade and renamed Herat International Airport. The runway of the airport has been extended and upgraded and as of August 2014 there were regularly scheduled direct flights to Delhi, Dubai, Mashad, and various airports in Afghanistan. At least five airlines operated regularly scheduled direct flights to Kabul.

Rail Further information: Rail transport in Afghanistan

In 2007, Afghanistan and neighboring Iran finalized an agreement for the establishment of a rail service between the two countries. Construction of the 191 km (119 mi) railway, from Khaf in Iran to Herāt, is in progress on the Iranian side of the border. There are plans to finish a rail line between Khaf, Iran and Herat which has been funded by Iran and the Asian Development Bank and construction is underway. There is also the prospect of an extension across Afghanistan to Sher Khan Bandar.

Places of interestAn area of HeratPalace on top of a hill, which is used for weddings and other special ceremoniesMuseum inside the Herat Citadel, locally referred to as Qala Ikhtyaruddin or Arg.Mausoleum of Queen Goharshad from the Timurids period.The Information Technology and Engineering Facility at Herat University.
  • Neighborhoods
    • Shahr-e Naw (Downtown)
    • Welayat (Office of the governor)
    • Qol-Ordue (Army''s HQ)
    • Farqa (Army''s HQ)
    • Darwaze Khosh
    • Chaharsu
    • Pul-e rangine
    • Sufi-abad
    • New-abad
    • Pul-e malaan
    • Thakhte Safar
    • Howz-e-Karbas
    • Baramaan
    • Darwaze-ye Qandahar
    • Darwaze-ye Iraq
    • Darwaze Az Kordestan
  • Parks
    • Park-e Taraki
    • Park-e Millat
    • Khane-ye Jihad Park
  • Monuments
    • Herat Citadel (Qala Ikhtyaruddin or Arg)
    • Musallah Complex

Of the more than dozen minarets that once stood in Herāt, many have been toppled from war and neglect over the past century. Recently, however, everyday traffic threatens many of the remaining unique towers by shaking the very foundations they stand on. Cars and trucks that drive on a road encircling the ancient city rumble the ground every time they pass these historic structures. UNESCO personnel and Afghan authorities have been working to stabilize the Fifth Minaret.

  • Museums
    • Herat Museum, located inside the Herat Citadel
    • Jihad Museum
  • Mausoleums and tombs
    • Mausoleum of Queen Goharshad
    • Mausoleum of Khwajah Abdullah Ansari
    • Tomb of Jami
    • Tomb of khaje Qaltan
    • Mausoleum of Mirwais Sadiq
    • Jewish cemetery - there once existed an ancient Jewish community in the city. Its remnants are a cemetery and a ruined shrine.
  • Mosques
    • Jumu''ah Mosque (Friday Mosque of Herat)
    • Gazargah Sharif
    • Khalghe Sharif
    • Shah Zahdahe
  • Hotels
    • Serena Hotel (coming soon)
    • Diamond Hotel
    • Marcopolo Hotel
  • Stadiums
    • Herat Stadium
  • Universities
    • Herat University
  • Images of Herāt
  • U.S. Consulate in Herat

  • Landmark at a traffic circle

  • Mausoleum of Mirwais Sadiq Khan, son of Ismail Khan, who was killed in 2004 in clashes with the Afghan National Army

  • A commercial center, which is the tallest building in the city

  • Shopping center

  • Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police

  • Pol-e Mālān, a historical bridge

  • Pillar of Mosallah Complex

  • Khwājah Abdullāh Ansārī shrine, a Sufi of the 11th century

  • Gazar Gah cemetery

  • Tomb of Jāmi, a poet of the 15th century

  • The Jewish cemetery

Herāt in fiction
  • The beginning of Khaled Hosseini''s 2007 novel A Thousand Splendid Suns is set in and around Herāt.
  • Salman Rushdie''s novel The Enchantress of Florence makes frequent reference to events in Herāt in the Middle Ages.

Tags:Abbasid, Abbasid Caliphate, Achaemenid, Achaemenid Empire, Afghan, Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah, Ahmad Shah Durrani, Alexander the Great, Anglo-Persian, Arab, Arachosia, Arg, Aria, Armed, Asia, Avesta, Bactria, Balkh, Barsaentes, Bessus, Bost, British, British Museum, Buddhism, Caliphate, Central Asia, China, Christian, Darius I, Delhi, Dost Mohammad Khan, Dubai, Dynasty, Egyptian, Genghis Khan, German, Ghaznavi, Ghilzai, Goharshad, Gold, Governor, Great Game, Greco, Hamid Karzai, Hari River, Herat, Herodotus, Hinduism, Hotaki, Hulagu, ISAF, Ibn, Ilkhanate, India, Indus, Iran, Iranian, Iraq, Islam, Islamic, Islamic Republic, Islamization, Italy, Jewish, Jihad, Kabul, Kandahar, Kara Koyunlu, Karakum, Kartid, Karzai, Khan, Khanate, Kharazm, Khorasan, Marv, Mashhad, Medes, Mediterranean, Mediterranean Sea, Middle Ages, Middle East, Mir, Mongol, Mughals, NATO, Nader Shah, Naqsh-e Rustam, Neishabour, Nestorian, Nicator, Old Persian, Oxus, Oxus civilization, Pahlavi, Parthian, Parthian Empire, Persepolis, Persia, Persian, Ptolemy, Rashidun, Roman, Rostam, Rumi, Russian, Rustam, Saboktakin, Safavid, Safavid Dynasty, Saffarid, Saffarid Dynasty, Salman Rushdie, Samanid, Sanskrit, Sassanid, Satibarzanes, Satrapy, Seleucid, Seleucus Nicator, Seljuk, Shah, Shah Tahmasp, Shahi, Shia, South Asia, Soviet, Sultan, Sultan Husayn, Sultan Mahmoud, Sultan Mahmoud Ghaznavi, Sunni, Tahirid, Tahirid Dynasty, Tahmasp, Taliban, Timur, Timurid, Timurid dynasty, Timurids, Transoxiana, Turkestan, Turkish, Turkmenistan, Turks, UNESCO, United States, Wardak, Wikipedia, Yazid, Zoroaster, Zoroastrian

Herat Media

Herat Terms

    Herat Articles

    Herat Your Feedback