From its origins as an outpost of the Achaemenid Empire, the repeated strengthening of the Citadel of Qala Ikhtyaruddin, and the setting out of a walled settlement by the Ghaznavids, the city of Herat has had a turbulent history. Situated at the crossroads of regional trade, in the midst of rich irrigated agriculture, the area has been a prize for successive invaders. The city became a centre for Islamic culture and learning during the reign of Timur, whose successors commissioned several monumental buildings, but it then fell into decline under the Mughals. Considered part of Persia during the Safavid era in the eighteenth century, it was not until 1863 that Herat was incorporated into the emerging Afghan state.
The distinctive rectilinear layout of the city of Herat was delineated by massive earth walls that protected the bazaars and residential quarters that lay within. This was the extent of the city until the middle of the twentieth century, when administrative buildings were constructed outside of the walls to the northeast.
Safari, Fakhrollah. “English abstract of 'Music and Theatre in Herat: The Poets, Professional and Amateur Singers of the Theatre of Herat and Herati Artists'". Translated by Niki Akhavan. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 90. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
.سلجوقى، نصر الدين. موسيقى و تئاتر در هرات: سرايندگان و آوازخوانان حرفهاى و شوقى هنر تئاتر و هنرآفرينان هراتى. تهران: توس، ١٣٨٣/٢٠٠۴-٢٠٠۵، ٣٣۶ص
Saljuqi, Nasr al-Din. Musiqi va Tiʼatr dar Harat: Sarayandagan va Avazkhvanan-i Hirfahʹi va Shawqi-yi Hunar-i Tiʼatr va Hunarafarinan-i Harati. Tehran: Tus, 2004/2005, 336pp.
Music and Theatre in Herat: The Poets, Professional and Amateur Singers of the Theatre of Herat and Herati Artists
موسيقى و تئاتر در هرات: سرايندگان و آوازخوانان حرفهاى و شوقى هنر تئاتر و هنرآفرينان هراتى
This book covers the period beginning with the Timurid era until the Taliban rule in the 1990s. Much of the work is focused on the music of the era of Husayn Bayqarah and Amir Shir Ali Navayi, the period when music had reached the height of its beauty.
The sources and materials used in this work include people’s testimonies, contemporary artists in Herat, instruments from previous periods, and historical documents.
The writer in addition to covering the artists, actors, authentic music and instruments of Herat, also presents a history of the city. He moreover considers the relationship between the authentic music of Herat with a range of other types of music. He also illustrates many issues using poetry.
According to the author, the people of Herat have always been involved with music, including for worship in madrasas and other places of gathering.
This book provides a fact based counterpoint to those in Afghanistan who believe that music was religiously forbidden. The unique information by the author makes the book appealing to the general readers.