Children staring through a shiny hole in the remains of a Buddhist city in northern province of Afghanistan, Samangan. There are places in the world so strongly devoted to a particular religion that it is incredibly hard to believe that they have been shaped by any other faith. Afghanistan is one of those places, a country so devoutly Islamic that it seems that Islam has been around since the beginning of time, however before the advent of Islam, Afghanistan was an important center of Buddhist teaching. The once rich excavation sites have turned to rubble after decades of war and neglect, the museum collections have been looted or irreparably damaged, and the Bamiyan Buddhas, once the country’s strongest reminder of its Buddhist past – were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Since the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, the Stupa of Takht-e Rostam in Samangan Province is arguably Afghanistan’s most impressive pre-Islamic site. Unlike other stupas, the one of Takht-e Rostam has not been mounted above ground, but it has been carved into the ground. The Afghan name Takht-e Rostam (Throne of Rostam) refers to a legendary figure in Persian culture. After the Islamization of Afghanistan, when the knowledge of the original purpose of the stupa became lost, the site became known as the place where Rostam supposedly married his bride Tahmina. The ruins are located up the hill 3 km southwest above the town of #Samangan, #Afghanistan. Photo by Najeeb Azad @najeebazad #everydaySamangan, #everydayAfghanistan, #everydayAsia, #everydayeveryWhere, #buddha, #culture, #history, #heritage, #unesco, #persian.