National Geographic: Lost Treasures of Afghanistan DVD Shrinkwrapped


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National Geographic: Lost Treasures of Afghanistan
James Barrat (Director, Producer) Rated: NR (Not Rated) Format: DVD

During the last three decades, war and terrorism have devastated much of Afghanistan’s rich cultural past. Two giant Buddha statues were blown up by the Taliban, gold and priceless archaeological artifacts disappeared, artworks were destroyed, historic films were burned. But many courageous Afghan people were determined to save their heritage. Join National Geographic as it highlights the efforts of heroic Afghans who have refused to allow their culture to be destroyed. Marvel at the priceless treasures that have re-emerged, and listen to the stories of people who risked death to defy extremists threatening to obliterate Afghanistan’s past, and of others with deep roots in the country who can finally come home now that the conflict has subsided.

Run Time: 56 minutes

Excellent video of Afghanistan as it was before the war.

This film brings together different stories of heroism and bravery in war-torn Afghanistan.

Explore the Bamiyan Valley with archaeologist Dr. Tarzi as he digs for a long-forgotten monastery that houses the 1,000 foot Buddha in his ultimate quest to honor the Bamiyan people and their history. Also join Russian archaeologist Victor Sarianidi as he unveils and confirms whether gold treasures found underneath the Presidential palace were indeed the Bactrian Hoard treasure he helped discover and catalog two decades ago. And finally, listen to the different stories of brave Afghani artists and archivists as they recount how they went about protecting and preserving works of art and film archives from certain destruction by the Taliban.

Search for the Lost Treasure of Afghanistan is a 2007 documentary film in which travel writer and explorer Tahir Shah heads off to Afghanistan on a quest to find the hidden treasure of Ahmad Shah Durrani, the world’s largest treasure, which is estimated at over $500 billion in today’s currency. Following the clues in a notebook which was left to Shah by his ancestors, he teams up with Reza, a young Afghan archeologist and attempts to solve the mystery of the gold of Ahmad Shah. This film documents some of the adventures that occurred during three trips to Afghanistan between 2005 and 2006.

The treasure of Ahmad Shah is often considered to be the greatest ‘lost treasure’ in history: a mountain of gold and jewels reputed to be worth in excess of $530 billion. In 1740 Nadir Shah of Persia swept through Afghanistan into India. After sacking its capital at Delhi, he plundered the treasuries of the Mughal emperors and hauled the wealth of three hundred years westward, over the Hindu Kush, towards his kingdom of Persia. The treasure caravan was said to have been 150 miles long, and to have contained the greatest accumulation of gold and gems in human history.

During the journey back to Persia, Nadir Shah was murdered in his tent by his own guards. The young soldier Ahmad Shah Durrani, who was to become first king of modern Afghanistan, found himself in possession of this immense treasure: a million gold coins and sacks of jewels, as well as the sacred Peacock Throne (now in Iran), and the fabled Koh-i-noor diamond, which today can be found in the British Crown Jewels.

Ahmad Shah died an agonizing death soon after, succumbing to cancer of the face. Legend has it that his death was the result of the curse of the Koh-i-noor diamond. With the knowledge that his health was deteriorating, Ahmad Shah is said to have concealed the bulk of the treasure before his death. For almost two and a half centuries, Afghans and their rulers have searched for the treasure of Ahmad Shah. A century ago, Amir Abdur-Rahman sent convicts to hunt in the dangerous tunnels commonly found in the region. Most of them perished. The British mounted their own quest for the treasure, as did the Russians during the 1980s. More recently, Al Qaeda’s henchmen have been thought to be looking.

Tahir Shah’s family lived in Afghanistan for more than a thousand years as rulers, warriors, and mystics. Shah shares the same name as the first king, as well as a common ancestry. His father, Idries Shah, was Afghanistan’s most famous writer of modern times, and was also preoccupied with the fabulous lost treasure. His own fascination for riddle led him to write a bestselling novel about the gold of Ahmad Shah, Kara Kush.

This documentary was filmed on location in Afghanistan. It was directed by Swedish director David Flamholc and produced by Caravan Films.


DVD is still in shrinkwrap. Includes Afghanistan: In the Line of Fire as a special feature.