This title covers all the history from Alexander the Great to Hamid Karzai. It contains literary excerpts from Herodotus to the modern day. It is lavishly illustrated with rare archival material such as 19th century paintings and engravings from the Bodleian Library and the Royal Geographical Society. It is sumptuously produced with illustrations from renowned photographers, including Michael Yamashita, Roland and Sabrina Michaud, and Wilfred Thesiger. Additional material to this title is contributed by Afghanistan residents and frequent visitors. This is an essential reading for everyone with an interest in, or connection with, Afghanistan. It offers comprehensive up-to-date tourist information with realistic security assessments. Thanks to 20 years of civil war and its association with terrorism, Afghanistan is now unjustly considered by many in the West as a barbarous backwater. "Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide" aims to dispel this image in a comprehensive introduction to 3,500 years of Afghan culture. Starting with a full history of the country from 1500 BC, each wonderfully illustrated chapter looks at the major regions and cities, describing their distinctive cultural and ethnic traditions, their associations with poets, artists, travellers and holy men, as well as warriors and conquerors. A number of specialist essays by leading experts further present topics such as archaeology, architecture, carpets, miniature painting, food, music, flora and fauna. Experienced Afghan traveller Matthew Leeming contributes detailed information for those who intend to visit the country, with guides to specific cities and areas, as well as more general travel advice. This lavish publication reveals an immense treasury of cultural, historical and natural wealth - too frequently forgotten - that is Afghanistan.