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19th Day

by Georgios Toubekis last modified Jun 29, 2007 01:46 PM

Thanks to the invitation of yesterday afternoon I find myself as part of the Tourism Delegation from Kabul going on a inspection tour to the lakes of Band-e Amir. Over night I printed some pages from our Cultural Master Plan publication to have it at hand if needed. The convoi of several Toyota cars leaves Bamiyan in the early morning headed by police vehicles. First stop is at the plain of Shebartu, that has been identified by the Afghan Government to become the main airport for the province of Bamiyan in the future. It is located right in the middle between Bamiyan valley and the Band-e Amir lakes around 1,5 hours in both directions. The present politicians assure the decisions regarding the future airport and reafirm that the present airfield in this location was in active use during the long year fightings in the country. After another bumpy ride we reach the main lake of Band-e Amir in record time. Although I have visited the lakes several times the first sight remains amazing. High concentration of lime and other minerals make the waters shine in sparkling blue that always reminds me of the deep blue of the mediteranean sea. A huge natural dam captures the ground water and reveal the beauty of geological formation processes. The water is dripping over this edge and by partially evaporating lime layers condense from the water and let the dam grow slowly in time. Different from other years there are no cars visible in close distance to the lake. The Governor with support of the local population introduced a entrance fee system and guarding of the site that controls the access to the water carefully. It is to hope that they succeed to get this system run on the long term. Also there are ideas to find a new location for the small shops that emerged in close distance to the water. In severall discussions with parts of the delegation it becomes clear that the Afghan authorities are determined to develop the area of Band-e Amir and Bamiyan as main tourist attractions on an international scale.
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