I have grown up with a love for history. It is by far my favourite genre of book to read, one of the subjects that was part of my teaching degree, and one of the things I love to explore while travelling.
I think that this passion has largely grown from the fact that I grew up in an area of the world where ancient history was so obvious. It was almost as if the echoes of Alexander the Great’s armies were still ringing in the mountain passes and the dust from Genghis Khan’s horses had not yet settled…
In 2009 I got my first chance to visit Bamyan in central Afghanistan. In these niches once stood the famous Buddhas of Bamyan. They were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. I felt sad to have come almost a decade too late to see what had once stood there for centuries.
The caves in the cliffs beside and above the niches hold what may be the oldest oil paintings in the world.
This mound of ruins is known as Shar-e-Gholghola, the City of Screams. It was sacked by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. This was a reminder that destruction has always been a part of history. Sadly this is still the case.