IntroductionThe country's third-largest city, Herat was once occupied by Alexander the Great. Enormous defensive walls and earthworks remain from ancient times. Destroyed in the early 13th century by Genghis Khan, it was later rebuilt. Although much of the old town is in ruins again, remaining sites include the fabulous 15th-century Friday Mosque (Masjid-i-Jame), a synagogue and the remains of what was once an Islamic school. The tomb of Queen Gawhar Shad dates to the 1400s, though it has suffered battle damage of late—it served as an artillery position. Herat is famous for its handblown blue glass. Artisans can be seen creating delicate works of art in the shop across from the Friday Mosque. Nearby, at Gazergah, is a 15th-century monastery and mausoleum of Abdullah Ansar, a Sufi mystic. 400 mi/645 km west of Kabul.
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