Exploring Badghis: Afghanistan’s Hidden Gem

As you step foot in Badghis, you will be immediately captivated by its breathtaking landscapes. The province is nestled between the towering peaks of the Hindu Kush mountains and the vast expanse of the desolate Dasht-e-Kavir desert. The contrast between the rugged mountains and the barren desert creates a mesmerizing panorama that is a photographer’s dream.

One of the highlights of Badghis is the mesmerizing Qala-i-Naw, the provincial capital. This ancient city is steeped in history and is home to a number of architectural gems. As you stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, you will come across intricately designed mosques, mausoleums, and traditional houses adorned with colorful tiles and intricate woodwork. The city’s rich heritage is a testament to the cultural significance of Badghis throughout the centuries.

For nature enthusiasts, Badghis offers a myriad of opportunities to explore its natural wonders. The province is blessed with numerous freshwater springs, crystal-clear rivers, and lush green valleys. One of the most popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts is the stunning Ab-i-Istada, a series of cascading waterfalls nestled in the heart of the mountains. The sight of the water gushing down the rocky cliffs and the soothing sound of the rushing water will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty.

Badghis is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, making it a haven for nature lovers. The province is home to several protected areas, including the Jawzari Wildlife Reserve, where you can spot rare species such as the Afghan urial, the goitered gazelle, and the Persian leopard. Whether you are an avid birdwatcher or simply enjoy observing wildlife in its natural habitat, Badghis will not disappoint.

However, it is not just the natural beauty that makes Badghis a hidden gem. The province is also known for its warm and welcoming people. The locals take pride in their rich cultural heritage and are always eager to share it with visitors. You will be greeted with open arms and invited to partake in traditional Afghan hospitality, which often includes sharing a meal with a local family or sipping tea in a bustling bazaar.

So, if you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, consider exploring Badghis. Immerse yourself in its stunning landscapes, delve into its rich history, and connect with its warm-hearted people. Badghis may be a hidden gem, but it is a treasure waiting to be discovered.


Another natural gem in Badghis is the Bala Murghab Valley. This picturesque valley is known for its fertile lands, where farmers cultivate a variety of crops such as wheat, barley, and melons. The vibrant green fields contrast beautifully with the surrounding arid landscapes, creating a stunning visual spectacle.

Badghis is also home to several wildlife sanctuaries, providing a haven for a diverse range of animal species. The Tora Bora Wildlife Reserve, located in the southeastern part of the province, is known for its population of endangered species such as the snow leopard and the Marco Polo sheep. Birdwatchers will also be delighted by the abundance of avian species that can be found in Badghis, including the majestic golden eagle and the colorful hoopoe.

In addition to its natural beauty, Badghis is rich in cultural heritage. The province is dotted with ancient archaeological sites, revealing the remnants of civilizations that once thrived in the region. The Qala-i-Naw Citadel, a fortress dating back to the 18th century, is a testament to the province’s historical significance. Visitors can explore its well-preserved walls and towers, gaining insights into the region’s past.

Badghis is also known for its vibrant traditional arts and crafts. The province is famous for its intricate carpet weaving, with local artisans producing exquisite rugs that are sought after worldwide. Visitors can witness the weaving process firsthand and even purchase these beautiful creations as souvenirs.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a unique cultural experience, Badghis has something to offer. Its natural beauty, rich heritage, and warm hospitality make it a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

Aside from these well-known historical sites, there are numerous other hidden gems in Badghis that showcase its rich history. One such site is the ancient city of Qara Qul. Located in the northern part of the province, Qara Qul was once a thriving center of trade and culture. Its well-preserved ruins offer a glimpse into the daily life of its inhabitants, with remnants of houses, markets, and even a grand mosque still standing.

Exploring the narrow streets and crumbling buildings of Qara Qul, visitors can imagine what life was like in this bustling city centuries ago. The intricate carvings on the walls and the remnants of colorful tile work speak to the artistic and architectural prowess of the people who once called this place home.

Another fascinating historical site in Badghis is the ancient city of Ghoriyan. Located in the southern part of the province, Ghoriyan was once a thriving center of commerce and culture. Its well-preserved city walls and ancient buildings are a testament to its former glory.

Walking through the narrow, winding streets of Ghoriyan, visitors can feel the weight of history on their shoulders. The echoes of the past resonate through the crumbling walls and ancient doorways, telling stories of the people who once lived here. From the grand mosque to the bustling bazaars, every corner of Ghoriyan is steeped in history.

As visitors delve deeper into the province’s history, they will uncover more hidden treasures. From ancient fortresses to forgotten tombs, Badghis is a treasure trove of historical sites waiting to be explored. Each site offers a unique glimpse into the province’s past, shedding light on the diverse cultures and civilizations that have left their mark on this land.

For history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike, Badghis is a destination that promises to unveil a rich tapestry of stories and experiences. Whether exploring the well-known sites or venturing off the beaten path, visitors to Badghis are sure to be captivated by its fascinating history.

While immersing yourself in the local culture of Badghis, you can also explore the province’s historical sites and landmarks. One such site is the ancient city of Qala-i-Naw, which dates back to the 12th century. This fortified city is a testament to the region’s rich history and offers a glimpse into the architectural marvels of the past.

For nature enthusiasts, a visit to the stunning Qaraqul Lake is a must. Located in the northern part of the province, this picturesque lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offers breathtaking views. It is a perfect spot for picnicking, hiking, or simply enjoying the tranquility of nature.

Additionally, Badghis is known for its traditional music and dance. The province is home to talented musicians and dancers who perform at various cultural events and festivals. Attending one of these performances allows you to witness the beauty and grace of Afghan music and dance, and perhaps even try your hand at some traditional steps.

Another way to immerse yourself in the local culture is by staying in a traditional Afghan home. Many locals offer homestay experiences, where you can live with a local family and learn about their daily routines, traditions, and way of life. This provides a unique opportunity to forge meaningful connections and gain a deeper understanding of the local culture.

Overall, visiting Badghis offers a chance to delve into the heart of Afghanistan’s rich cultural heritage. From exploring historical sites to indulging in local cuisine, and from witnessing traditional celebrations to experiencing the warmth of Afghan hospitality, immersing yourself in the local culture of Badghis is an unforgettable journey that will leave you with lasting memories.

Planning Your Trip to Badghis

While Badghis may not have the same level of infrastructure as more popular tourist destinations, it is still possible to travel to the province. The best way to reach Badghis is by flying into Herat, a nearby city with an international airport, and then taking a road trip to Qala-i-Naw, the capital of Badghis.

It’s important to note that traveling to Badghis, like any other destination in Afghanistan, requires careful planning and consideration of the current security situation. It is advisable to check the travel advisories issued by your government and to seek local advice before making any travel arrangements.

When it comes to accommodation in Badghis, options are limited but still available. Qala-i-Naw has a few guesthouses and small hotels that cater to travelers. Staying in one of these establishments not only provides a comfortable place to rest but also contributes to the local economy.

Once you have arrived in Badghis, there are several activities and attractions to explore. The province is known for its beautiful landscapes, including the Band-e-Amir National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you can marvel at the stunning blue lakes surrounded by rugged cliffs and enjoy hiking and picnicking in the pristine natural surroundings.

Another must-visit destination in Badghis is the ancient city of Qala-i-Naw. This historic city dates back to the 12th century and is home to several architectural wonders, including the Qala-i-Naw Citadel and the Great Mosque of Qala-i-Naw. Exploring the narrow alleys and ancient buildings of the city will transport you back in time and give you a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region.

For those interested in learning about the local culture and traditions, a visit to the Badghis Museum is highly recommended. The museum showcases a collection of artifacts and exhibits that highlight the unique heritage of the province. From traditional clothing and jewelry to ancient pottery and artwork, the museum offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the people of Badghis.

Food enthusiasts will also find plenty to satisfy their taste buds in Badghis. The province is known for its delicious Afghan cuisine, with dishes like kabuli pulao, mantu, and kebabs being popular choices. Don’t forget to try the local specialty, qurut, which is a dried yogurt cheese that is often used in traditional dishes.

Overall, a trip to Badghis offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience for travelers seeking to explore the hidden gems of Afghanistan. With careful planning and an open mind, you can discover the natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality of this lesser-known province.


  1. Badakhshan
  2. Badghis
  3. Baghlan
  4. Balkh
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