The government has started work on the renovation of Takht-e-Rustam, an ancient stupa that was part of a Buddhist monastery located two kilometers south of the city of Aibak in the northern province of Samangan.
The first phase of the renovation will include repairing the surrounding walls of the historical site, officials of the provincial information and culture directorate said, adding that the surrounding wall is 4 kilometers in length and that it will take 18 months.
The head of the information and culture directorate said that a French archaeologist who has done research on the historical site said that Takht-e-Rustam was built in the fifth century AD.
Other sources say the stupa was built in the 3rd-4th century AD while the area was part of the Kushano-Sasanian Kingdom. The complex is carved entirely from the bedrock and has five chambers, two of them sanctuaries.
It is located on a hillside.
A big hall will be built within the complex for tourists, said Aziz Rahman Qatra, head of the information and culture directorate in the province.
“We have a project this year worth 38 million Afs. This project includes three parts: construction of 4,000 meters of surrounding walls, construction of an office or a hall for tourists like other countries… and protective renovations,” he said.
The stupa is 9 meters high and 90 meters wide, according to the information and culture directorate of Samangan.
“Recreational parks should be built in the surroundings of the historical site,” said Lal Mohammad Mohammadi, a cultural activist.
There are eight caves on a mountain side 200 meters to the north of Takht-e-Rustam.
"Takht-e-Rustam has seen damages over the last years… The Ministry of Information and Culture should renovate the caves and the markets that once existed there,” said Ali Karimi, a university lecturer.