The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.
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Takht-e Rostam; a monument with 3,500 year-old history in northern Afghanistan

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It is worth mentioning that Takht-e-Rustam has seen damages over the last year. The country’s Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) had been once asked renovate the caves and the markets that once existed there. Last year, renovation work on the ancient stupa that was part of a Buddhist monastery had been started.

The Stupa of Takht-e Rostam in Samangan Province is arguably Afghanistan’s most impressive pre-Islamic site. Unlike other stupas, the one of Takht-e Rostam has not been mounted above ground, but it has been carved into the ground, in a style that resembles the monolithic churches of Ethiopia.
At the top of the stupa is a stone-carved Harmika building, which once held relics of the Buddha. The trench surrounding the stupa is around eight meters deep. A path leads down to the bottom of the trench, where Buddhist monks once clockwise circumnavigated the stupa.
Carved inside the outer walls of the trench is a Buddhist monastery with five individual caves and several monastic cells for meditation. Small holes in the roofs allow a little daylight to enter the caves, creating a peaceful atmosphere of twilight. The cave monastery is lacking any decorative elements, but is impressive for its sheer engineering feat.
Historians have proposed two possible reasons, as to why the stupa has been carved in the ground, instead of being built above ground. One explanation is that it could have been done for the purpose of camouflage to protect the monastery from invaders. Another much more mundane explanation states that it has simply been done to escape the excessive climate extremes of Afghanistan.
The Afghan name Takht-e Rostam (Throne of Rostam) refers to a legendary figure in Persian culture. After the Islamization of Afghanistan, when the knowledge of the original purpose of the stupa became lost, the site became known as the place where Rostam supposedly married his bride Tahmina. The ruins are located up the hill 3 km southwest above the town of Samangan.
It is worth mentioning that Takht-e-Rustam has seen damages over the last year. The country’s Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) had been once asked renovate the caves and the markets that once existed there. Last year, renovation work on the ancient stupa that was part of a Buddhist monastery had been started.
The first phase of the renovation included repairing the surrounding walls of the historical site. According to officials of the provincial information and culture directorate, the surrounding wall is 4 km in length and it was said that it would take 18 months. The renovation work on the stupa was stopped later and the current directorate of information and culture for Samangan assured of starting the renovation work on the respective stupa.
Saida Ahmadi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.