Q has been installed in a new hotel, which leaves us free to go in a van to Shar-i Zohak with our new driver Hamid. We stopped off at the Buddhas on our way, as we were told that yesterday’s tickets were also valid for today. It now turns out that they aren’t. Strangely the price is cheaper today!
The fortress of Shar-i Zohak is 20 minutes outside of Bamiyan and was built from mud bricks in the 6th century by the Ghorids. When Genghis Khan’s grandson was killed here, he ravaged the whole valley in retribution.
We walked across fields and small streams to get to the fortress and then progressed up the steep incline towards the first gate.
I stayed below the gate because the path was mainly loose shale and treacherous underfoot.
The whole area was marked with painted white stones, showing that the mines have been defused but one red one remained at the start of the path.
The red brick still looks very impressive and must have been a stupendous site when it was still functioning. I have no idea how the Mongols managed to demolish it because it’s built on a sheer rock face at the top of a plateau.
On the way back we stopped at a Women’s Co-Operative Guest House and they kindly agreed to serve us tea on the terrace overlooking the beautiful gardens.
The evening was spent shopping for basic snacks and water for tomorrow’s big road trip.
Then we watched the sun go down over beautiful, haunting Bamiyan.