More than 6,500 foreign tourists visited the province of Herat's Qala e Ikhtyaruddin (Ikhtyaruddin Castle) in the previous six months, according to representatives of Herat's Department of Information and Culture.
The director of Herat's information and culture department said that after the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism in this province has resumed its previous levels.
"In the first six months, Herat hosted 6,689 foreign visitors. We had 1,226 foreign tourists visit Herat in just the first month of this year,” said Naeemulhaq Haqqani, the head of information and culture in Herat.
Ikhtyaruddin Castle is one of the most well-known historical sites in Herat, and both domestic and international tourists visit the city every year to see the castle.
Nearly 3,000 historic items are maintained at the Castle’s museum, which is the country's second largest museum after the National Museum of Afghanistan.
"Herat's Ikhtaruddin Castle Museum houses around 3,000 different kinds of artwork. After the National Museum of Afghanistan, it is the country's second largest museum. Currently, 474 works are on display in the museum's three exhibition halls. On either side of it is the Herat Archive that houses more than 250 to 300 manuscripts. Both domestic and international tourists visit the Herat Museum and the Ikhtaruddin Castle every day to learn about the country's ancient culture,” said Abdul Jabar, the museum's director.
The Qala e Ikhtyaruddin in Herat was sometimes used as a warehouse for military equipment and a location for coronation rituals.
Some tourists urged the Islamic Emirate authorities to pay more attention to historical sites.
"I traveled from the province of Faryab only to view this fort and ancient Herat. I came to see the sights. The fort is good, it's a historic site, and it should be protected like other places,” said visitor Elias.
According to some cultural activists in Herat, the Islamic Emirate should advertize its historical sites to its neighbors and the surrounding region in order to draw tourists.
"The development and introduction of Afghanistan's historical and ancient monuments, as well as the introduction of Afghanistan to its neighboring countries, depends on communication. The nation's historic sites can be promoted through this process. There are additional ways for it too, they should promote the travel and tourism industry," said cultural activist Sayed Shamsuddin Noorzaizada.
One of the oldest still-existing structures in the heart of Herat city is Qala e Ikhtyaruddin.
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