On the edge of Kabul, Afghanistan, framed by the snowy peaks of the Hindu Kush, lies the Darul Aman Palace, the former home of Afghan King Amanullah Khan. Built in the 1920s as part of a modernization campaign by the King, it now sits ravaged by thirty years of war. But it never had a peaceful history. According to Wikipedia:
Darul Aman Palace was gutted by fire in 1969. It was restored to house the Defence Ministry during the 1970s and 1980s. In the Communist coup of 1978, the building was set on fire. It was damaged again as rival Mujahideen factions fought for control of Kabul in the early 1990s. Heavy shelling by the Mujahideen after the end of the Soviet invasion left the building a gutted ruin.
Over the years, the Russians, the mujahideen, the Taliban, local artists and the Americans have all left their mark – and it’s known amongst select few as a sort of gallery of war art. I was recently allowed inside as one of the guys I was with knew the guards (always helpful to have friends in high and low places!) and as I was wandering around, saw the most amazing graffiti art… which looked like something out of the Banksy playbook. I was assured it was just an homage – but… you never know.
After the jump, more amazing graffiti and pictures of the actual palace:
UPDATE: Turns out the Banksy-esque graffiti is most likely the work of Shamsia Hassani, Afghanistan’s first female street artist – WHO ROCKS.
Check out some more of her work here: