You are here

Islamic Tourism Details

Mazar Sharif – Balkh
Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan
Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, is a major trading center famous for Karakul, a great variety of traditional Turkman carpets and high-quality, long-staple cotton.

The city is named for the magnificent shrine of Hazarate Ali, cousin and son-in law of Prophet Mohammed, the Fourth Caliph of Islam. Hazarate Ali was assassinated in 661 and buried at Kufa, near Baghdad.

Local tradition, however, relates that his followers, fearing enemies may take revenge on the body, placed his remains on a white she-camel which wandered until she fell exhausted. On this spot the body was buried.

All knowledge of the final resting place was lost until its existence was revealed and the great Seljuk Sultan Sanjar ordered a shrine built here in 1136. Genghis Khan destroyed this building and again the grave lay unmarked until a second revelation during the reign of the Timurid Sultan Husain Baiqara. He ordered an elaborate shrine constructed in 1481.

None of the 15th Century decoration remains but modern restoration has returned the building to its original beauty. Thousands of white pigeons make their home there. Amir Sher Ali Khan lies buried here with other member of Amir Dost Mohammad's family.

The largest tomb is that of the Amir's illustrious son, Mohammed Akbar Khan, who played a prominent role during the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1838-1842.

Mazar-e Sharif is visited by countless pilgrims throughout the year and particularly on Nawroz (21 March) when the great Janda (religious banner) is raised to announce the beginning of spring and the coming of the New Year which is the most elaborately celebrated festival in Afghanistan.
Sources and Useful Information