International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

Afghanistan


N.B.: General country data and external links have been provided by the Member State.* Uploaded: 06/2020

General Country data

The main cultural assets of Afghanistan

Afghanistan is home to the remains of different ancient civilizations and kingdoms. It has one of the oldest, richest and the most diverse cultures in the region. Afghanistan is known for historical sites including forts, minarets, castles, statues, palaces; ancient art crafts, and art heritage visible in the country’s architecture, paintings, calligraphy, and poetry. Following is a list of Afghanistan’s main historical sites:

  • Buddhas of Bamyan which are the monumental statues of Guatama Buddha carved in the 6th century in a mountain in the current Bamyan province of Afghanistan. The short one was built on 507 CE and the tall one was built on 554 CE. The Buddhas represent the remains of Gandhara civilization.
  • Minaret de Jam which is 65 meters tall, is located in the Ghor Province in central Afghanistan, and was built by Ghurids in 12th century.
  • Takht-e Rostam is located in the town of Aybek which lies in the center of the Samangan province. It was built between 4th to 5th century CE during the reign of the Sasanians Empire.
  • Arch at Bust (Taaq Bust) was built by the Ghaznavid rulers in the current Helmand Province of Afghanistan in the 11th century. The archway spans about 25 meters.
  • The Great Mosque of Herat (Masjid Jami Herat) is located in the province of Herat in the west part of Afghanistan. This mosque was built during the Ghurids reign in 12th century.
  • Bala Hissar Fort is located in Kabul province. The fort was built between the 5th to the 6th century by Hephthalites. The walls in Bala Hissar Kabul are measured to be around 6 meters high and almost 4 meters thick.
  • Herat Citadel (Qala Iktyaruddin) which is located in the heart of Herat Province of Afghanistan was built in 300 BCE by Alexander the Great.

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has ratified the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the 1972 Convention of Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Additionally, under the Directorate for Protection and Maintaining Ancient Cities and Historical Heritages of the Ministry of Information and Culture, and other governmental projects, Afghanistan is also committed to maintaining the heritages and historical monuments by using protective and restorative methods, as well as performing surveys, mapping, volume decisions, reconstructions, prevention and maintaining sustainable protection of historical monuments and ancient cities.

The cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List

Minaret of Jam and eight historical areas of Bamyan were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2002 and 2003 respectively, and four historical areas of Babor Shah Garden, the Old city of Herat, Balkh City, and Rustom’s Throne have been registered on the World Heritage Tentative List. Some of the historical sites in Afghanistan such as the Buddhas statues, are playing a significant role in depicting and promoting ancient architecture particularly of the Central Asian civilizations.


Adhesion to ICCROM

Afghanistan is a Member State of ICCROM since 07/02/2010

Within ICCROM

Mandates in ICCROM Council since 1958:

No mandates in ICCROM Council

ICCROM Staff since 1959: - None -

Involvement of Afghan Nationals

Activities in/with Afghanistan since 2002


Activities details

Activities details


  • 2003 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2004 - 1 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2007 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2010 - 3 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2011 - 2 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2013 - 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2014 - 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2017 - 1 Mission(s)


External links

Governmental Cultural Institutions

Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions


* ICCROM reserves the right to moderate the content provided by Member States for country profiles to ensure that they remain within the scope of ICCROM’s mission and pertinent to cultural heritage. However, ICCROM does not take responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the content supplied. The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the Member States.