| Kabul | Burj e Shahr Ara

The surviving tower now known as Burj-e Shahr Ara formed part of a palace built by Amir Abdur Rahman Khan between 1899-1900 on Tapa Maran, a hill close to the village of Shahr Ara. The palace comprised an octagonal brick tower topped by a dome set beside a single storey building around which ran a deep verandah with views over extensive gardens with reflecting pools. Barely completed before Abdur Rahman's death, the palace was briefly used by Habibullah Khan in 1904 while the Dilkusha Palace was under construction. Share Ara was subsequently used by the royal family for wedding receptions, including that of Amanullah Khan in 1914. As part of administrative reforms when Amanullah came to the throne, the newly-created Ministry of 'public instruction' (on the fourth floor of the tower) was set up in the palace, with the lower building used as classrooms and the Afghan historian Faiz Mohammad Kateb taught here for a time. Destroyed in 1929 during the rebellion against Amanullah's reign, all that survives of the Shahr Ara palace today is the shell of the brick tower and an entrance gate to the garden to the east, now on the boundary of a military facility.


Image of Shahr Ara palace in 1922 (from Souvenirs  d'Afghanistan)
02 Shahr Ara burj east side 2012
03 Shahr Ara burj west side 2012
04 Shahr Ara burj interior with trace of ramp 2012
Inscription marking Abdur Rahmans return to Kabul in 1899, installed at Shahr Ara by Amir Habibullah Khan in 1904
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