At seven in the morning, Noor was waiting bright at the reception, ready to take us to a Buddhist Stupa called Takht-e Rostam, located in the province of Samangan, about a two hour drive South East of Mazar-e Sharif.
The road was mostly desert like landscape, but halfway there we drove through a pretty nice gorge with steep mountains on both sides of the road and small huts next to the road selling pommegrenade.
Climbing up to the Stupa was scary!!
Takht-e Rostam was built in the 5th century and is said to have taken 96 years to construct. The Stupa, carved out of a gigantic rock reminds me of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela, but these buildings were waaay older and had absolutely no tourists.
Noor, looking a bit like a Buddhist munk
In addition to the Stupa, there were some huge caves built at the same time. These were well hidden with small entrances, but inside they roomed a market place, resting place and rooms for meditation.
Driving back to Mazar-e Sharif we also stopped at the hunting lodge of the last king of Afghanistan. The plan is to make a museum about the history of Mazar-e Sharif there, but this was not ready so we just had a quick stop to look before continuing our journey back.