Tajbeg Palace

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Ruins of the Tajbeg Palace, 2007.
Tajbeg Palace in 1987.

Tajbeg Palace or Tapa-e-Tajbeg (Persian: قصر تاج بيگ‎‎; Pashto: د تاج بېګ ماڼۍPalace of the large crown) is a palace built in the 1920s and located about 10 miles (16 km) outside the centre of Kabul, Afghanistan.[1] The stately mansion sits atop a knoll among foothills where the Afghan royal family once hunted and picnicked. It should not be confused with Darul Aman Palace, which is about 1.3 kilometres (0.81 mi) northeast from Tajbeg.

Built to house the Afghan royal family, Tajbeg Palace is one of the most impressive landmarks of "Darulaman," newly created during the era of Amānullāh Khān by a team of European architects in an attempt to establish a new seat of government and modernise Afghanistan, both of which ultimately failed when religious conservatives forced Amānullāh from power and halted his reforms, leaving the palace in ruins as it has been for much of its existence.[2]


Taj (Persian: تاج ‎‎) means Crown and Beg, bäg - has been mentioned as early as in the Orkhon inscriptions (8th century AD) and is usually translated as "tribal leader".[3] The dialect variations bäk, bek, bey, biy, bi, and pig all derive from the Old Turkic form.[4] The actual origin of the word is still disputed.However, German Turkologist Gerhard Doerfer assessed the derivation from Iranian as superficially attractive but quite uncertain,[4] and pointed out the possibility that the word may be genuinely Turkic.[3] The Altaic Kings or princes such as Turkmens, Uzbek, Hazara had Bay or Beg in the end of their names, their wives Begum. The Timurid dynasty and Moguls made use of Beg (by men) like Qanandar Beg and Begum (by women) like Arjumand Banu Begum or Mumtaz Begum, Noor Jahan Begum etc.) although the Great Mogul in Kabul, Agra and Delhi preferred Persian titles such as Shah Jahan (King of the World), Alamgir (World Conqueror), Jahangir (World Conqueror).[5]


Not far from the castle or Tapa e Taj Beg (Taj Beg hill), a palace for the Queen of the Timurids is said to have been found a long time ago. Terraced garden designs were preferred by Timurids and Moguls, and today some ruins remain. The Timurids and their successors, the Moguls, have kinship relations with the Pashtun tribes of Abdali Durrani and later Yusufzai. The daughter-in-law of Ahmad Khan Abdali (the wife of Timur Shah Durrani) was the daughter of Alamgir II.

According to some historians. the palace seems to have been renovated by Zaman Shah in 1795 (1210 H.), which was subsequently destroyed in military conflicts, and the ruins from ancient times remain. Foreign soldiers of ISAF have documented ruins of the former castle.[6] As with many historical sites in Afghanistan, current dynasties try to reduce the historical achievements of their predecessors.

On December 27, 1979, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics launched its invasion of Afghanistan. That evening, the Soviet military launched Operation Storm-333, in which some 700 troops, including 54 KGB spetsnaz special forces troops from the Alpha Group and Zenith Group, stormed the Palace and killed President Hafizullah Amin, who resided there.

During the Soviet war in Afghanistan it served as the headquarters of the Soviet 40th Army. The palace was severely damaged in the years after the Soviet withdrawal, when different mujahideen factions fought for control of Kabul after the fall of President Najibullah's Moscow-backed government.

The Afghan government, in conjunction with the German government, have drafted plans for renovating the palace for official use, requiring funds from private donations from wealthy Afghans. There are also similar plans for the nearby Darul Aman Palace, which is to be used as the building for the Parliament of Afghanistan. These plans are on indefinite hold as the Afghan government seeks to establish peace and stability.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ghani, Mariam & Ashraf (8 September 2012). "Palace of Abandoned Dreams". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "SketchUp Buildings". sketchupbuildings.blogspot.com. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Beg". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Baga". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Fayz Muhammad Katib Hazarah: Siraj Al-tawarikh (English the history of Afghanistan)[1] 6 Vol. Set, ed. from and translat of R. D. Mcchesney and Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami, Brill's E-Book, 2012
  6. ^ http://afghanistanmylasttour.com/tag/tajbeg-palace/ 14th century Mongol ruins, the historical Taj Beg Palace
  7. ^ "Everywhere: Places: Darul Aman Palace". everywheremag.com. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°27′17.38″N 69°6′48.04″E / 34.4548278°N 69.1133444°E / 34.4548278; 69.1133444