Herat is the third biggest town of Afghanistan and serves as the capital of Herat Province. Situated in the fertile valley of the Hari River, Herat was historically an important stage town of the Silk Road.
While the city became famous after its conquest by Alexander the Great, it is actually far older, having been mentioned since the reign of the Achaemenid Empire in 6th century BCE. The city is known for its citadel which is supposed to have been built around 330 BCE, when Alexander arrived to what is now Afghanistan. It has been a central military stronghold for many empires over the last 2000 years.
The Citadel is fashioned in the shape of an older, rectangular compound to the east, about eighteen meters by forty-two meters, protected with thirteen towers, all made of fired bricks, called the Upper Citadel. The Lower Citadel has lower walls of baked bricks and has a polygonal shape about twenty-five by sixty meters, with nine circular towers. In the light of the dawning sun, the citadel looks like a gigantic castle of sand.
The City also has a Temple of the First Civilization located beneath the Citadel. In 1841, the Precursor temple was discovered and explored by British Templars under the command of Master Templar William Sleeman. As the Afghans were revolting against the British troops holding the Citadel, the underground site was also infiltrated by the Indian Assassin Arbaaz Mir, who was captured by Sleeman before he could activate the temple's pedestal.