Tajbeg Palace was built in the 1920s and is located outside Kabul, Afghanistan. The palace was home of the royal family during the time of Amānullāh Khān. The surrounding city quarter of Darulaman was built by European architects at the request of the royal family.
During the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, the palace was captured and used as a headquarters for the Soviet army. It has remained abandoned since with plans to rebuild however these have yet to come to fruition, even under the country’s new administration.
This extract is from 2005 and speaks of the palaces role as an observation post –
There are no paintings in the Tajbeg Palace, but the bullet-pocked walls tell their own epic tale of Afghanistans turbulent history.
Severely battered by more than a quarter century of war, the stately mansion on the western fringes of Kabul sits atop a knoll among snow-covered foothills of the Karokh mountain range where the Afghan royal family once hunted and picnicked.
Today, the Tajbeg provides NATO peacekeepers with a machinegun observation post, but it previously served as a base for Soviet occupiers, Afghan holy warriors and al Qaeda and Taliban militants.
“I never thought Id be living in a palace,” smiles Master Corporal Dickie, a lone Canadian soldier camped out with a handful of Hungarians from the 8,000-strong peacekeeping force.
The ground floor is criss-crossed by trip wires attached to phosphorescent flares to deter village children who sneak in to take firewood and steal whatever the NATO soldiers leave unguarded.
“Its kind of eerie, especially when the wind blows through, and the snow shifts on the roof,” says Dickie, clambering over the rafters, carefully sidestepping holes in the ceiling.
While President Hamid Karzai seeks to nurture democracy with the support of the United States and its Western allies, the Tajbeg represents a virtual mausoleum to royal dreamers, communist ideologues and Islamic fundamentalists who all tried and failed to force their own visions on Afghanistan.
Location – Kabul, Afghanistan
Category – House
Abandoned – 1980s