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Afghanistan - Kabul

The first historical account of an oasis around the Kabul River can be found in the 2000 BC ancient Indian hymn of Rigivida, in which the region was called Kabuha or Kabukha. The ancient city of Vigarute is also said to have been located on the current site of Kabul.

The city of Kabul originated 3500 years ago; Alexander the Great of Macedonian referred to the city in 328 BC and ancient Greek geographer and historian Starbone of the First Century BC called this city Ortaspana which means " Highland Region". Another ancient Greek geographer Beltemous in the Second Century BC referred to the city as Kaboura and he called its residents Bolitio. According to Gurgasht the city's inhabitants were the Kabolitoi. Some believe that the city has also been called Carura.

The fortress at Kabul is believed to have been constructed at the end of the third century. The village of Kabul is thought to have been established during the Koshan dynasty in the Second Century and was located in the Loghar Valley within the Chakari region.

During the Second and Fourth Centuries, Kabul relocated a number of times, moving to Shiwaki, Khord-Kabul, and the Takht-e Shah Khanborak valley. The last location of Kabul was the fortress of Bala-Hissar in the summit of Shirdarwaza and Assamahee mountains. Kabul was built northwest of the Bala-Hissar fortress and Kharabad on the left bank of the Kabul River. Kabul became more famous during the time of Arabic Califats (Khalifates) in 645-876 A.D.

At the end of the 16th Century, Kabul experienced a significant degree of expansion and development when during the dynasty of Babour Shah, a special initiative was made for the developement and beautification of all Afghan cities. Gradually, a number of gardens and parks were created throughout the city. By the end of Seventeenth Century Kabul was a large trade center and had a population of 10,000.

In 1773, Kabul became the capital of Afghanistan during the Durrani Dynasty. During the time of King Timor Shah the city's experienced additional construction and an expansion in the city's size. A few large government buildings were constructed around the Bala-Hissar fortress. The construction of housing, mosques, public baths (Hamam), Caravan-Sarai , and new parks took place within the residential area of Gozar. Some new residential areas such as Divanbigi, Sardar Jankhan, Ali Rezakhan, Muradkhani, Ahanghari, Shamrezha, Khakrobah, Sarai Shahzadah Abass, and Khan Shikh Abdullah were developed within the city's urban boundary.

The new district of Shirpur (Shir Abad) was founded in 1863-1878. Usually the residential area of the city was divided into separate sections with public centers including a mosque, cafe, and small shops. By the second half of the Nineteenth Century large bazaars such as Shor Bazaar and Chindawol Bazaar were formed in Kabul. In 1878, the population of Kabul was approximately 70,000 people and the city 's area had increased to 180 hectares of land.

From 1878 to 1919, the country's administrative center was relocated from the Bala-Hissar to the Northern part of the city. Later, the palace, the Gulistan Khana building, Bostan Sarai, a few government guest-houses, the Shahrarah Tower, Gunbad-e Kotawali, Polikhishti Mosque, Salamkhana Palace, Bagh-e Bala Palace, mausoleum Amir, Dar-ul Aman, Chihlsotun Palace and Kabul National Museum were built.

In 1916 the city's population grew up to 65,000 people and its territory-400 hectare.

During the first years of Independence (1919), country's industry began to develop and construction of main roads which linked Kabul with other large cities and regions were initiated. The city's population increased to 90,000 people and its territory increased to 450 hectares by 1925.

During 1930-1940, construction of two- storied buildings were finished on both sides of the Kabul riverside. In 1940 the population of city grew to 120,000 and its territory expanded by 500 hectares.

Between 1940 and 1950, Kabul experienced a significant degree of new construction of both buildings and roads. During this period the Behzad Cinema was constructed as was Kabul University. The Shahrarah district was the site of a womens hospital with 12 beds. The reconstruction of Polikhishti Street started in 1948. In 1949 the reconstruction of the city's main street, Jade Maiwand, was started and the old houses were demolished and the construction of new 3-4 storied buildings began. By the 1950s the Jade Maiwand district had already built 50 houses, a cinema-theater for 1200, restaurants, and a trade center.

During the period of 1950-1960, there was additional construction of the city's main street, residential areas and administrative buildings. By 1962, the Kabul city became one of the largest cities in the country with 380,000 people and 6840 hectare of land.

The first Master Plan of Kabul city was designed by Afghan and Soviet experts in 1962-1964; it was calculated for 800,000 residents, the central part of the city would include 500 hectares of land. The Soviet plan also included the building of additional residences and of other public buildings. In 1978 the plan was revised and expanded, allowing the city to house an estimated 2 million residents.

The Taliban army's Central Army Corps was headquartered in Kabul. The Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, was reportedly also headquartered in Kabul in the Shahr-e-Nao [Shahr-e Now] quarter of the city [this location is obscure].

A Loya Jirga or grand council meeting was held for a period of two weeks, starting on June 10, 2002, at Kabul University to choose Afghanistan's next government. A huge tent, some 70 metres by 40 metres, was flown in for the occasion from Germany and erected at Kabul University. RAF experts gave fire safety advice for the complex of tents and buildings that hosted the event, which was expected to have up to 2,000 people attending. At the conclusion of the Loya Jirga, interim leader Hamid Karzai, was elected to run the nation for an additional two more years until internationally-supervised elections could be held.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:31:56 ZULU