Darul-Aman Palace – An anecdote

Once upon a time… in Afghanistan— there used to be buildings with beautiful faces.


War changed all of that. Changed everything from what people used to love, care about and admire. I wasn’t there when the buildings stood in all of their glories, but even now after the destruction, I look and imagine the buildings before the destruction. And I find this nostalgia for the lost pleasure of looking at something that was once perfect and beautiful.

Take a look at Darul-Aman Palace, a European-style palace first built during 1920’s by King Amanullah Khan. I love the ‘Gothic style’ that the building has used in corners. I love the beautiful symmetrical halls. I love everything about that palace; except that the war has torn the palace to piecies. As much as the french people love their Versailles, I love the Darul-Aman palace. Because I know that once it used to be beautiful.

I even consider Darul-Aman palace an architectural marvel, because it is.

Oh, how it must have been beautiful during it’s time.

Darul-Aman Palace, circa 1930’s

The palace has suffered a lot since the time of it’s initial built.

Here is a quick timeline :

  • Built in 1920’s
  • Set on fire in 1969
  • Restored to Defence Ministry in 1970’s and 1980’s
  • Set on fire again, in 1978 by the Communist coup
  • Heavily damaged in the early 1990’s by Mujahidden for the control of Kabul
  • 2014— currently a ruin
    Darul-Aman Palace after the heavy destructions.

    Darul-Aman Palace after the heavy destructions.

    I have visited the palace only once about two years ago. But I did examine everything. And for once I closed my eyes and imagined everything to be perfect— during that my heart filled with the immense joy.
    Back from the imagination of the perfect palace, my heart went to a deep sorrow. And I faced this simple question : Why?

    “Why?”, it is a question that I have asked myself several times when I have seen the marks of destruction. It is question that I share with many other people that have seen their homelands destroyed.

    Indeed, “Why?” is the ultimate question.

This article was also republished in Medium by me in 18/April/2014.

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