Guidance: Lashkargah and Bost
|A view from the bottom of the citadel's well|
Bost is located 10 km away from Lashkargah. It is difficult to say when it has been founded because it was many years ago, before our era even. But it was there in 661 — that is when it was conquered by the Arabs. They treated it well, and the city flourished, but it was completely destroyed in 1220 by Genghis Khan. Its gardens have survived for another century and a half until Timur have destroyed the irrigation system in 1383, and that was the end of that city.
A well-preserved citadel sits on a hill. Most of it is underground, and a big water well goes through the center of it. A spiral staircase goes down around the well, connecting a few citadel levels. The entrance to the well is obvious once you get to the top of the hill. It is dry now, and you can descend to the very bottom, but you need a flashlight for that.
You get a great view of the remnants of the city from the hill. At the foot of it there is the arch built in the 11th century.
The southern outskirts of Lashkargah is where Lashkari Bazaar is. In the 11th century this was a military station, hence the name, Soldier's Bazaar. Now it is equally destroyed, but you can walk among the ruins of the ancient walls.
|Ruins of Lashkari Bazaar|
There was one caravan-serai that offered free lodging in a room with no glass in windows but with a lot of dust to compensate for that. A nice and new hotel nearby politely and firmly refused to accept foreigners citing lack of armed guards. Two more caravan-serai-type places were filled up by males only and had no available rooms. Bost Hotel was overtaken by an American special forces team who did not want to share it.
As a result, I had to stay in a Pakistani NGO's office — it was so nice, so clean, with hot running water and free tasty food. But it was not a hotel, so there is no point in sending you there. And you should not count on finding something like this. Try the caravan-serais, or do not spend a night here — that is even better.
|Ancient walls of Bost|
There is nothing interesting in Lashkargah itself.
You are guaranteed some difficult time if you come here alone and try to do everything alone. You will attract giant crowds of about 200–300 people who just want to have a look at you. The problem is foreigners practically do not come here. And when they do, it is an event of the year.
It is better not to come here without local friends if you are not ready to be closely and constantly followed by crowds. If you do it anyway, try to make it a one-day side trip from Kandahar, maybe even in a car hired in Kandahar for the whole day. If you have to spend a night in Lashkargah, stay the rest of the first day in your hotel, then go to Bost very early next morning, then leave the city for Kandahar or Herat.
The best thing is to skip Lashkargah altogether. The situation in the city and the whole province is slightly tense.
|The arch shown on Afghan currency|
If you are coming from Herat, you have to exit in Girishk on the main road and take another taxi to Lashkargah. But there are direct minibuses from Kandahar to Lashkargah: two dollars and three hours. There should be direct taxis from Girishk to Herat, and you can try to get one right from Lashkargah to Herat since its bus station looks quite busy.
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