The tiles aren’t as impressive as Samarkand but it’s good to see that there are still some original ones in situ.
The local people were very relaxed about us taking photos inside and we were all fascinated by the tile works and restoration studio.
At Sultan Hamidy’s fabulously stuffed antique and craft shop we admired his hand blown blue glass and marvelled at the sheer weight of “stuff” packed into the small space. I bought a small lapis lazuli box and some silver jewellery for $10 and wished that we could have also bought some glass but it would have been too impractical lugging it around with us while we were travelling.
We walked to the Malik Cistern, once a medieval water complex, now an art gallery, and then persuaded a nice chai seller to let us have tea in his back room, away from any possible offence we could cause.
At the Citadel (built in 1415 on the foundations of Alexander the Great’s fortress) we had a brief verbal tussle with the armed guards at the gate who wouldn’t initially let us in. We were charged $20 each to get into the excellent new museum, despite the ticket face value being $6. The displays were very interesting, especially a stunning blue plaqued tomb dating from the 14th century. We were told that we were not allowed to walk through the rest of the fort because “tickets weren’t available yet” but it looked like the real reason was that there were too many armed soldiers bedded down on the ramparts and turrets.
We met a German UN worker who was amazed that we’d travelled here by road and warned us not to attempt travel further north because the roads had been heavily mined. He told us that UN workers can be disciplined for traveling more than 8k from their base (which is usually Kabul) and he envied us being able to see the country.