Great Mosque of Herat

Herat, Afghanistan | C.1446

Photo Credit: Matt Longmore

Arguably the most beautiful example of Islamic architecture in all of Afghanistan, the Great Mosque of Herat’s nearly six-century history has been almost as tumultuous as that of the country. Both mosque and nation make evident Afghans’ resilience and determination to overcome challenges and rise again.

Construction of the mosque began in 1200, but the building fell into ruin only two decades later, after Genghis Khan conquered and pillaged the region.

It has been rebuilt, destroyed, and restored many times since, and each new effort has built upon what came before.

The structure was damaged anew during the Anglo-Afghan wars of the early twentieth century, and 1943 brought a major overhaul in which a tile workshop was created onsite—an ongoing contribution to the magnificent mosaic that adorns this house of worship.

If you would like to learn more, here are a few resources supporting the people in Afghanistan (These are just a few options and as always, we encourage you to do your own research):

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