I think most of my posts from FOB Apache have included at least one picture of Alexander the Great’s Castle. It really is an impressive sight sitting near the floor of the Tarnak River valley in Qalat. When you consider it was built some 2000 years ago and has been used as a military fortress every since, it only adds to the mystique. It is currently used by the Afghan National Army (ANA).
This was my second visit, the first one being last October shortly after I arrived. There hasn’t been much change in the last 6 months, except for further deterioration of some of the hard structures, like the broken glass of ‘Tea Room’ at the apex of the hill.
It really isn’t a castle in the sense of the castles dotting the landscape of Europe. Instead, it is a mud-walled fortress occupying the entire hilltop overlooking the valley. Inside the walls there are numerous buildings of various design and states of disrepair. The mud-walled buildings are from before 2001, but no one can tell you for sure how old they are. They, along with the walls of the Castle, require routine maintenance/rebuilding as the rains wash away the mud. The ANA Captain that gave me a tour last fall said most of the mud buildings were probably nor more than 100 years old. he said the caverns in the hilltop were older, but there are no records or pictures to know for sure.
The views from the top are beautiful and offer an amazing panoramic view of the entire valley for miles. It is easy to see why it has been used by the military since the invasion of Alexander the Great.