Our beloved country Afghanistan has a rich history of hundreds of past civilizations. The National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul is one of the best and most important sources for the whole history of our nation. Every Afghan can go and visit the artefacts and observe the thousands years’ way of life of our ancestors. The National Museum was first established in the reign of King Amanullah Khan. The site is the only center for the preservation of historical monuments, representing the culture and history of Afghanistan.
The National Museum of Afghanistan showcase the pride and strength of Afghans, who have survived many periods of destruction and crisis. The National Museum is the preserver of our culture and history. We thank all those individuals for their courage and tireless efforts who have preserved the cultural heritage of the country. 50000 of beautiful historical artifacts in the National Museum belong to each and every Afghan and each individual is the owner of this national and cultural heritage. The National Museum’s exhibits reflect the culture and history of Afghans to this day. The historical artifacts on display here belong to the most important historical period of this country as Stone Age, Bronze Age, etc.
The first museum in Afghanistan was established in 1919 at the Bagh-e-Bala palace overlooking Kabul, and consisted of manuscripts, miniatures, weapons, handicrafts, and art objects belonging to the former royal families and number of books collected from 1901 – 1919.
A few years later during the reign of Amir Amanullah Khan, the collection was moved to the king’s palace in the center of the city to exhibit the collection. The country’s national museum was once called as one of the richest museums in the region. In 1931, it was officially installed in the present building, which had served as the Municipality.
The original collection was dramatically enriched, beginning in 1922, by the first excavations of the Delegation Archeologique Francaise en Afghanistan (DAFA). Through the years other archaeological delegations have added their finds to the museum until today the collection spans fifty millenniums Prehistoric, Classical, Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic and stands as one of the greatest testimonies of antiquity that the world has inherited.
From the beginning of the destructive civil war in the early 1990’s, the museum was looted resulting in a loss of 70% of its 100,000 objects on display. Many of the stolen objects have since been returned. Currently, the country’s national museum is located in end of the Darul Aman Palace road connecting the Kabul central town to the palace.
In an interview with The Kabul Times correspondent, the museum’s director Ainuddin Sadaqat said that Afghanistan National Museum is divided into two principal parts as Ethnographical and Historical. In Ethnographical part, various tribes as Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pashayee, Baloch, Gojar, Barahavi, Kohistani and others are living together and each has high culture and left unprecedented cultural artefacts behind and these artefacts are called Ethnographical Artefacts some of which are jewelleries, different previous stones, handicrafts, women dress, hand-made arms and tools showing the people’s rich culture.
In the meantime, the Nuristan woody monumental collection is also the main collection of the ethnographical part of the museum.
The second part is the historical monuments which divided into several periods. The first period is the Stone Age (50,000 BC), showing evidence of activities and life style of people living 50,000 years Before Christ (BC) and their artefacts are now preserved at the museum.
The second period is the Copper or Bronze Age, starting from (4,000 – 2,000 BC), the third period is the Metal Age starting also from (2,000 – 1,000 BC), the fourth period is the Achaemenid, starting from (6th – 4th c BC), the next period is the Hellenistic, starting from (4th – 3rd c BC), then the Bactrian era, starting from (1st BC – 1st AD), then the Great Kushan, starting from (2nd – 6th c AD) and then the Islamic era, starting from (9th c – present).
It is worth mentioning that the National Museum has a large collection of coins. It contained 30,000 objects during a UNESCO sponsored audit of the collection. It is unknown how much the collection has grown since or what was lost during the various wars since. Nikmal