Press Release 2011
Restored Herat Citadel Reflects Afghan History and Identity
October 16, 2011
Over two hundred guests joined officials from the U.S. Embassy, the Afghan government, and the international community for the opening of the restored Herat Citadel – the Qala Ikhtyaruddin. The Citadel re-opening represents the culmination of four years of expert restoration work on the historical monument.
The Citadel, one of the oldest structures in Herat’s historic center, was used as a royal residence, treasury, prison and arsenal before suffering damage in numerous conflicts between the Persian, British, Afghan and Russian forces. The restoration of the Qala Ikhtyaruddin has been supported by the United States through the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, and by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. “In any society, education and an awareness of cultural roots are important in helping its members develop a sense of who they are, a sense of identity”, said Bertram Dierkes-Leifeld, German Embassy Cultural Affairs Counselor. The U.S. support for the restoration and preservation of the citadel represents the largest Ambassador’s Fund project globally to date.
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, along with Governor Dr. Da’ud Saba and other VIPs, toured the museum and Citadel before cutting the ribbon to officially open the citadel to the public. Speaking to the gathered crowd, Ambassador Crocker noted that the restoration and revitalization of the Citadel reflects international cooperation in the recognition and preservation of Afghanistan’s unique and important cultural heritage. “We look forward to the day when Afghans and visitors from around the world can come here to learn about Afghanistan’s rich history while enjoying the beauty of this land.”
In addition to the Citadel, the U.S. has also assisted in the support of several sites in Herat, including the Shish Nal mosque located at the Darb e Malik -- one of the oldest entrances to the Herat old city and one of the few surviving traces of the ancient buildings of the old city. The site also includes the adjoining Malik cistern, which now functions as a public exhibition space. “This is a day full of happiness for Heratis and we once again express our gratitude”, said Governor Dr. Da’ud Saba.