Monday, February 16, 2015

Bala Hissar - Kabul, Afghanistan in 1879!



Bala Hissar is an ancient fortress located in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan. The estimated date of construction is around the 5th century A.D.[1] Bala Hissar sits to the south of the modern city centre at the tail end of the Kuh-e-Sherdarwaza Mountain. The Walls of Kabul, which are 20 feet (6.1 m) high and 12 feet (3.7 m) thick, start at the fortress and follow the mountain ridge in a sweeping curve down to the river. It sports a set of gates for access to the fortress.

Bala Hissar was originally divided into two parts: The lower fortress, containing the stables, barracks and three royal palaces, and the upper fortress (the actual fort with the name Bala Hissar) housing the armory and the dungeon of Kabul, known as the "Black Pit" (the Siyah Chal).

Bala Hissar was the site of some of the bloodiest fighting in Afghanistan during the 19th century when Afghanistan came into conflict with the invading British during the First Anglo-Afghan War (1838–1842) and Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–1880). From 1839 onwards the British used it on and off as their barracks until the massacre of the British Mission by mutinous Afghan troops in 1879. It was damaged during the Second Anglo-Afghan War when the British Residency was burned down, then later when the armoury exploded. General Frederick Roberts had wanted to level the fortress completely, but in the end it was strengthened and fortified in the Spring of 1880, a few months before the British left Afghanistan.