This photo is relatively old, from August 1972, but the Citadel on the hill is a lot older. It was built in the early 15th century, but this spot is supposed to have been fortified since the days of Alexander the Great, who was here in about 330-329 B.C.
This is Herat in western Afghanistan. I passed through here roughly 2300 years after Alexander. The citadel was in a bad shape and I was never inside. It may not even have been possible. In the late 1970's there was a lot of restoration work done, financed by the UNESCO, but then the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan and during the following decades of wars the citadel was once again severely damaged.
In recent years Herat has been one of the relatively safest and most prosperous cities of Afghanistan, with a lot of money coming in from border trade with Iran. With a relative degree of peace it has become possible to consider other things than just staying alive. According to what I have found on the internet the citadel was reopened as a museum in 2011 after three years of extensive restoration. I have found several photos on the net and I will borrow one to show you as a workshop, to give you an idea of what it looks like today, about 40 years after my photo.
I am fully aware that this is a technically not very impressive photo. The bright light made it difficult to get a good exposure of the general view, and at the same time the faces of relatively distant people. I tried to lighten the faces of the man crossing the street and the "taxi-driver", but nothing could be done.
This was taken while I was still in my "pre-Kodachrome" days, so I have scanned it from an Agfacolor slide. A larger version can be seen here.
Critiques | Translate
Subhogen (3200) 2014-02-28 10:28
Nice street shot of daily life in Herat so many years ago. You have placed the old fort perfectly in the frame giving it the dominating position it rightly deserves. It looks beautiful towering over the rustic city. I do not mind about the technicalities when I get to see a valuable photo like this. Are those two barbers shaving by the roadside? If yes, you must have seen the same in all cities of India as well. Excellent post, thanks a lot for sharing this.
photographer_sg (863) 2014-02-28 10:31
This is a fine view of the afghan street with beautiful framing and details. The 'taxi' with its relaxed horse and coachman is in perfect position and shot from a lovely angle. With the damaged citadel in the background, the colours, the bright sunlight with the horse carriage, the setting resembles Rajasthan in some ways. The man hurrying by on the right is perfect as well in conveying a nice sense of movement.
Thanks for sharing this retro treasure.
best regards and have a great weekend.
macjake (48349) 2014-02-28 10:37
now thats cool!
always interesting to see these 'then & now' type of photos. not only has the Citadel changed, but the street itself has been re-done.
and I agree with you in that it may look a bit TOO overdone in terms of it looking so pristine - but thats ok, better that than have it in ruins.
Same thing when they renovate Castles...they look SO new...makes me wonder if they looked that good hundreds of years ago when they were constructed - doubt it.
Kind of get the feeling even new constructed these buildings looked sort of rustic.
awesome post for TE
dta (59121) 2014-02-28 10:40
Hello Gert ,
another great oldie from you , and so interesting . A good idea to show us the same place today . As you say the renovation is a little strong . And the wires are not very esthaetical . They were more discret in the past ...
Thanks for the share .
batalay (33875) 2014-02-28 11:41
Your ancient slides, even the Agfachrome, are a treasure trove of recent history. It is hard to believe that 1972 is already 42 years in the past, but as you know, it is all relative. There is the 15th century castle, on a mound fortified since the time of Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BC. Of course, geologically speaking, the mound is much much older than all of our specie's creations. The Agfachrome film, although I just used it once or twice, had very good color, but I have to check my ancient slides to see if those rich colors are preserved in time. Even in those days I was using Kodachrome, with my choice of ISO, 25.
Have a good weekend,
mesutilgim (75550) 2014-02-28 11:52
Hello dear Gert,
Nice "oldie" from Herat. I like the headdecoration of the horse ! Another perfect scan and entry with many interesting notes.
TFS and have a nice weekend
ourania (21432) 2014-02-28 12:01
I like very much this travel in time too. I reluctantly looked at the workshop because I was afraid the present aspect of this place might be very disappointing. The workshop picture from the net made me appreciate your delicious colours even more. There are big differences and stunning similarities between the two views but I guess that behind the surface things have changed a lot. The carriage and the mysterious walking man are very attractive, the citadel is the impressive backdrop of the street scene. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely weekend,
Silvio1953 (109295) 2014-02-28 12:04
Ciao Gert, great view of fascinating fortress, nice animated scene, excellent clarity, wonderful colors and splendid light, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio
williewhistler (10893) 2014-02-28 12:29
despite the very minor technical shortcomings this is still such a fascinating,beautifully composed photograph with the Citadel dominating the scene whilst the colourfully adorned horse and cart add their own charm and interest.
It is also of interest that you have managed to include the barber at work.
Another most enthralling and enjoyable oldie.
Best regards Les.
Fis2 (78776) 2014-02-28 13:01
A very interesting view, wonderful building.
Nice scene from daily life.
Very impressive colors.
Kamilutka (5705) 2014-02-28 13:58
all these old picture have climate which wouldn't not be achieved by any of nowadays technologies. I like the grain and specific colors of the old photo. Also the place probably doesn't look the same now.
Well captured street scene with people running their own errands and not paying much attention to the photographer. I especially love the colorful carriage.
All the best!
Antipodean (1393) 2014-02-28 20:32
Kia ora Gert,
Great picture from a time now past. I visited Herat in 1970 although I don't have any photos of the Citadel, I do have them of the Minarets of Mussala just outside of town. I personally think the photo is fine, especially as it is scanned from a slide. Detail is there & captures a scene that is now well & truly in the past. Must post more of mine from the Overland days. Cheers, Neil
PaulVDV (18724) 2014-02-28 20:54
It's not always easy to tell what is the most beautiful, the restored historical monument that looks like new or the one fallen into ruin. On both pictures the citadel looks very imposing and it's dominating the entire town.
I remember when I visited Bam in Iran I found the restored part of the town looking 'too new'. When compared to the part in ruins, this latter part seemed much more attractive. But the restored work gave me a much better understanding of what it had once been.
I had the same feeling at the Great Wall of China.
On this picture I also like that 'taxi' very much. A taxi service in those days made use of very basic means: a horse and a pretty small cart. But the taxi driver paid a lot of attention to 'adorn' the horse as beautiful as possible.
Both pictures show not a heavy traffic in the city. But the streets are remarkably very broad.
I guess it must have been very hot in Herat in August.
Best regards, Paul
fabbs99 (13507) 2014-02-28 21:20
Excellent composition of the city of Herat from the seventies.Very well composed photo with excellent vivid colors. TFS.
emka (67299) 2014-02-28 23:32
Hi Gert, Relatively old photo, haha, older than some our friends here. Quite good quality for this old Agfa slide. A bit greenish color, but the sharpness is OK, it is clear. Very interesting shot. And funny, it looks as if the horse with decorated with the tree.
Amazing that you found a new photo made from the same spot. I prefer your version, though. The new is too new.
Warm regrads MAlgo
jjcordier (69571) 2014-02-28 23:38
Cette ancienne image est un document vraiment trčs intéressant. Quand on regarde la photo actuelle, on constate que la forteresse a été rénovée mais que la vie n'a pas beaucoup changé aux alentours.
saxo042 (35196) 2014-03-01 1:18
En intressant bild och även en mycket intressant text. Det verkar ju ha hänt en hel del under de senaste 40 åren avseende restaureringen.
cornejo (24585) 2014-03-01 3:53
Hello Gert, very good picture of this interesting old castle, beautifully captured in this interesting image with good sharpness, light and color. Very good comparison photo with WS, Very good and interesting job well done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work.
Good afternoon and happy Sunday.
Warm greetings from southern Spain.
Sergiom (48970) 2014-03-01 5:25
Tu es un des rares d'entre nous ā avoir été en Afghanistan. Je ne me souviens pas quand ce pays n'a pas été dangereux. Un trčs beau scan d'un bel endroit oų il t a de la vie dans la rue.
Nicou (109695) 2014-03-01 5:44
quelle iamge et compo nostalgique les tons sont superbes 1972 il y a longtemps quelle scčne cette rue cet édifice en fond et les personnage qui passent sueprbe.
Belle journée et merci
everlasting (14111) 2014-03-01 6:59
I remember arriving in Herat in 1975 and thinking WOW! it was an incredible town, decorated horses being ridden by man in flowing gowns and red beards. The citadel overlooked the streets, chickens and goats meandered in the roads and the sweetest mint tea was served.
This one excellent image brings all these memories flooding back to me.!!
thanks Gert and have a lovely weekend.
abmdsudi (35340) 2014-03-01 7:19
A shot with good touches of green and red to trigger the eyes and further to explore the ancient fortress in the backdrop. it's a pleasing shot displaying the old scene, but still full of charm, relatively bright with good shadows, detail and depth. Presence of people is always vital as shown. Congrats
SnapRJW (26088) 2014-03-01 8:18
Comparing your archival image with the WS makes an interesting study Gert. Immediately we see the more modern communications with street lights and motorbikes. You image has a far more leisurely feel to it and somehow the citadel looks more rustic. I think perhaps the re-vamped version is a little too 'perfect' and some character has been lost. I don't think the quality of the scan is too bad, the atmosphere is still conveyed very well.
Have a good weekend further.
pajaran (44354) 2014-03-01 10:02
Vrlo interesantan i dobar tekst, sa opisom ...
Dobar rad skeniranjem, lepo pokazano mesto i trenutak, lepa fotografija i secanje.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje za vikend, srecno.
Very interesting and good text with a description ...
Good work by scanning, demonstrated good place and moment, beautiful photos and memories.
Good evening and all the best for the weekend, good luck.
kasianowak (3786) 2014-03-01 10:08
So this is Herat. I'm reading a book about Afganistan and its history and your images would be very well placed in that publication.
I wouldn't worry too much about technicalities and to be completely honest I quite like the effect of the two people being partly silhouetted. The one of the left contrasts well with the lighter background and the turban of the one on the right indicates without doubt where his head is!
subhendu_bagchi (23613) 2014-03-01 17:30
another beautiful work from your very old series. This photo itself created a feeling of an old atmosphere, and the little grains on it suits that. Composition is superb with the horse driven cart and the fort. Excellent one. Tfs.
wolf38 (29666) 2014-03-02 1:48
Hello Gert. Again, a strong photo from Afghanistan. The people there always had to defend themselves against anything. And to this day has not changed. But on your photo looks allers very peaceful.
Best rgds, Wolfgang.
mirosu (10186) 2014-03-02 5:00
Superb photo, excellent vie of nice castle in excellent light. Nice composition with the horse carriage in front. What a pity that this interesting country was destroyed in such a brutal way. Superb scanning.
Very well done
Wish you a very nice Sunday.
Romano46 (14496) 2014-03-02 9:58
fa una certa impressione notare che il piacere della decorazione che hanno avuto sempre gli afgani per i loro mezzi di trasporto in questo caso abbia trasformato il carretto in qualcosa di molto simile ad un carretto siciliano.
E' anche vero che le decorazioni e i dipinti che allora ornavano i carretti siciliani si potevano riscontrare con aggiunta di altre decorazioni in stoffa nei loro camion che arrancavano sulla strada che saliva al Kyber pass e non solo.
Una foto che ci riporta al lontano 1972 e che mostra una cittā che era la porta dell'Afganistan verso l'occidente.
Peccato che i colori r la definizione siano andati in parte persi nella scannerizzazione.
Ciao e buon inizio di settimana
Royaldevon (23410) 2014-03-02 11:28
I am enjoying your tour of Afghanistan, a country I have only ever seen with reference to troop movements or suicide bombings. Your w/s shows how the citadel has been renovated but it also shows a much more modern city surround and modern forms of transport. It has lost the atmosphere captured in your photograph, with the pedestrians, the donkey and horse-drawn vehicle. I love how the horse has been so carefully adorned.
Your photographs are very important as historical documents showing changes that have probably happened so slowly, that people have been unaware of them.
My warm regards,
UlfE (14453) 2014-03-02 12:28
Jag håller nog inte riktigt med om att bildkvalitén inte skulle vara bra. Det starka ljuset och de djupa skuggorna skulle vara en utmaning även med en modern kamera. Jag tycker inte att det gör någonting att ansiktena på männen år mörka. Mannen som korsar gatan och hästekipaget gör scenen väldigt levande och man ser ganska mycket hur de ser ut ändå. Bilden är också välkomponerad och skärpan är helt klart mycket bra. Det jag noterar att bilden ser litet gulnad ut. Litet som ett gammalt vykort. Jag tror att det kan vara litet av en smakfråga om ska låta det vara som det är eller om man ska göra det litet mindre gult. Ha en bra söndagskväll!
boa (5112) 2014-03-02 13:24
det är mycket givande att se dina bilder från de svårtillgängliga länder som du har besökt. "sandlådeslottet" i bakgrunden är naturligtvis ett naturligt blickfång i den här bilden, men utan personerna på gatan så hade bilden inte varit lika intressant. Rakningen i bakgrunden är en ganska vanlig syn på många platser men hästen? Är den utsmyckad med blommor eller? Bra placering av häst o vagn i bilden, vilket gör att den känns välkomponerad och genomtänkt. Intressant bild!
ps. När tror du att det blir tillräckligt "säkert" att besöka Herat? Jag skulle verkligen vilja resa dit inom ett par tre år.
Apurba20 (423) 2014-03-02 23:17
Life of the days gone by. Charming.
Old is gold, I would say.
Graal (93586) 2014-03-02 23:51
another interesting old slide and presentation here. Amazing old historical walls. Good informations and quality of scan.
Have a nice week.
mkamionka (28031) 2014-03-04 6:50
I am very impressed also with the quality of this slide. There is no sign of any damage at all. Of course you have probably taken care about some damages but still I know from experience it may be quite a challenging task. The fortress looks unique with the shapes of the towers different from what I am used to. The people in the foreground add some action and interest. It feels almost as if nothing has changed here since the visit of Alexander the Great.
The photo was taken in the year I was born!
claudeD (28253) 2014-03-05 6:21
very fine idea to share this old picture with us here on TE. Excellent informative note. Very well done.TFS.
With regards from Luxembourg
eldancer1 (22435) 2014-03-05 10:06
Maybe an old photo but I don't think life has change that much since you been there which is very sad. I hope this building is still standing after all those years of war. Good pov and nice details even for an old image. Well done, tfs.
serp2000 (35072) 2014-03-06 9:58
Good evening, Gert,
I see the Agfa quality is excellent, I can't see a difference between this one and Kodak, so your skills could use every kind of films, including the Soviet black&white Svema, Tasma, ORWO from GDR etc.
Thanks for so informative note, I remember the Herat province in that breaking news from Afghanistan.
The photo is superb! Perfect document!
Waylim (24342) 2014-03-07 22:57
Another one of those travel journal type shot. Really amazing how many places you have been to and seen. I wish I could have seen as many places as you have. You know I travel a lot but there are still places I'll be afraid to go. I know there is some quality issue with the scan, but I love the nostalgic of it and the film grains and all. thanks for sharing your travel experience.
photoray (7942) 2014-03-08 16:19
Interesting historical scene of Herat, the traditional clothing, horse carriage, then the attractive medieval castle rising above the landscape, all in warm color tones.
I think your film, before digital creation is just fine.
Thanks for sharing,
PS: We pray for the future among our countries in tolerance and understanding and an end to violence.