11 Fun Facts About Afghanistan You Never Heard Before 

fun facts afghanistan

Apart from finger-licking good food, delicious pomegranates, and gorgeous rugs and carpets, there’s a lot more to this country of central Asia.

So without further delay, let’s check them out!

1. Afghanistan Is One Of The Few Countries Whose National Game Includes An Animal: Buzkashi

There are only a few countries in the world whose national game includes animals. Afghanistan is one of those few.

In the game, there are two teams. Both teams try to catch one goat but not by simply running after it; they need to catch the goat while riding a horse!

2. The People Of Afghanistan Are NOT Called Afghanis, which is Their Currency

They are actually called Afghans. Similar to Uzbek of Uzbekistan.

Afghanis are what they call their currency. So, the next time you address someone from Afghanistan, make sure not to call them by their currency. 

3. The Country Celebrates New Year On Every 21st of March On The Occasion Of “Nawroz”

Unlike the rest of the world, Afghans celebrate the new year every 21st of March on the day of “Nawroz”. The word literally means’new day’ and is a pre-Islamic festival.

The festival is also celebrated in some parts of Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and among Persians living in different places in Asia.

4. The Country Has Been In The News For Over A Decade

Afghanistan is one of the few countries that has constantly remained in the headlines of BBC and other news channels for over a decade now.

From the Taliban to NATO, the country has been through a lot!

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5. Internet Is Still Considered a Luxury In The Country

Even though there are around 32 million mobile phone users in the country, the number of internet users is still quite low!

Only 20% of the country’s population has access to the internet! This may seem very shocking to us, who can’t imagine sustaining a day without the internet.

One of the biggest reasons behind the lack of countrywide internet connection may be the shortage of electricity.

6. Like Italians Used Sonnets, Afghans Used Poems

Poetry is highly cherished in the country and is part of its culture. 

For over 1000 years, Afghans have been using poetry to tell their stories. In fact, every Thursday night is a “poetry night” in the city of Herat.

This entire setup is accompanied by traditional Herati music and sweet tea and pastries. 

7. The Ancient Herat Citadel Was Built By Alexander The Great

Towering the old city of Herat, Alexander the Great built the Herat Citadel in 330BC.

This is not only the oldest building of Herat but is considered among the oldest buildings in the country.

Herat Citadel
Herat Citadel

8. Afghan Food Is Highly Sophisticated And Has So Much More Than We Know!

When we think of Afghanistan’s typical cuisine, we only think about kebabs and rice, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg!

The main reason is its rich history and hosting several ethnic groups in the past, like the Pashtuns.

You will find stuffed ravioli, Mantu pasta, authentic sushi, and more delicacies among Afghan local dishes.

Some of the popular Afghan dishes, from left to right: 1. Lamb grilled kebab (seekh kebob); 2. Afghan palao and salad; 3. Tandoori chicken; and 4. Mantu (dumplings).
Some of the popular Afghan dishes, from left to right: 1. Lamb grilled kebab (seekh kebob); 2. Afghan palao and salad; 3. Tandoori chicken; and 4. Mantu (dumplings).

9. There Are Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites

One of the only two UNESCO sites in the country is the Minaret of Jam in Ghor Province. This site is ancient and conveys a message of peace that is crucial for the country.

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This site was built by the Ghurid Rulers, who converted to Islam from Buddhism in the 12th century.

Similarly, the other UNESCO site, the Bamiyan Valley, also displays Buddhist art made during the Gandharan Civilization. 

Minaret of Jam
Minaret of Jam

10. If You Thought Oil Paintings Were Introduced During European Renaissance, Then You Know It Wrong!

Around 650 BC, long before the European Renaissance, oil paintings were made in the caves of Bamiyan.

As confirmed by many experts, these Bamiyan valley murals are considered to be the world’s first-ever oil paintings.

Most of these old paintings include images of Buddha in a vermilion robe, sitting cross-legged. 

Buddahs of Bamiyan
Buddahs of Bamiyan

11. The Main Livelihood Of Afghans Is Agriculture

Around 85% of Afghan households rely on agriculture for their living. However, the lack of access to productive resources makes it difficult for them to make big profits. 


Since discovering how much fun and learning are to be had traveling, Alex has made it a point to tour his home country and continent while still in his heydays. His ultimate desire is to travel farther afield to see the wonders of Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia. When he isn’t traveling, he takes his time to write about various places to share his experiences with other global citizens.

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