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Encyclopedia > Balkh

Coordinates: 36°45′″N, 66°54′″E Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...


Today Balkh (Persian: بلخ) is a small town in the Province of Balkh, Afghanistan, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazari Sharif, and some 74 km (46 miles) south of the Amu Darya, the Oxus River of antiquity, of which a tributary formerly flowed past Balkh. Persian, (local name: FārsÄ« or PārsÄ«), is an Indo-European language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and by minorities in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. ... Balkh is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. ... Mazari Sharif , also known as Mazar-e-Sharif, Mazar-i Sharif, Mazār-e SharÄ«f and Mazar-i-Sharif (locally: مزار شریف), is the fourth biggest city in Afghanistan and the capital of Balkh province. ... The Amu Darya (Darya means river) rises in the Pamirs and flows mainly north-west through the Hindu Kush, Uzbekistan to join the Aral Sea in a large delta. ...


Old Balkh was a city in Greater Khorasan. It was located in a Persian-speaking area of eastern Persia. Nader Afshars tomb in Mashad. ...


The ancient city of Balkh, the oldest in today's Afghanistan, is associated with the Vedic name Bhakri, which as Bactra gave its name to Bactria, and was known as Zainaspa. Balkh is now for the most part a mass of ruins, situated some 12 km from the right bank of the seasonally-flowing Balkh River, at an elevation of about 365 m (1,200 ft). Vedic Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas, which are the earliest sacred texts of India,. The Vedas were first passed down orally and therefore have no known date. ... It has been suggested that Ta-Hsia be merged into this article or section. ... Balkh is a river in the Balkh Province, Afghanistan. ...

Contents

Balkh in 1911

Masjid Sabz (the "Green Mosque") is named for its tiled dome (in July 2001)
Masjid Sabz (the "Green Mosque") is named for its tiled dome (in July 2001)

Because of a malaria outbreak during flood season at Balkh, the regional capital was shifted in the 1870s to Mazari Sharif. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (516x768, 47 KB)15th century Sabz mosque. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (516x768, 47 KB)15th century Sabz mosque. ... St Peters Basilica (topped with a lantern), Rome A dome is a common structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. ... Malaria is an infectious disease that is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions. ... Mazari Sharif , also known as Mazar-e-Sharif, Mazar-i Sharif, Mazār-e Sharīf and Mazar-i-Sharif (locally: مزار شریف), is the fourth biggest city in Afghanistan and the capital of Balkh province. ...


In 1911, the Encyclopedia Britannica described a settlement of about 500 Afghan settlers, a colony of Jews and a small bazaar set in the midst of a waste of ruins and acres of debris. Entering by the west (Akcha) gate, one passed under three arches, in which the compilers recognized the remnants of the former Friday Mosque (Jama Masjid). The outer walls, mostly in utter disrepair, were estimated about 6½-7 miles (10.5 to 11.3 km) in perimeter. In the south-east, they were set high on a mound or rampart, which indicated a Mongol origin to the compilers. The Grand Timcheh of Qoms Bazaar. ... Honorary guard of Mongolia. ...


The fort and citadel to the north-east are built well above the town on a barren mound and are walled and moated. There was, however, little left but the remains of a few pillars. The Green Mosque Masjid Sabz, named for its green-tiled dome (illustration, right), is said to be the tomb of the khwaja Abul Narsi Parsar. Nothing but the arched entrance remained of the former madrasa. Khawaja or Khwaja (Arabic: خواجہ ) is a Muslim title used in Middle East and South Asia. ... Madrassa in the Gambia The word madrassa in the Arabic language (and other languages of the Islamic nations such as Persian, Turkish, Indonesian etc. ...


The town was garrisoned in 1911 by a few hundred irregulars (kasidars), the regular troops of Afghan Turkestan being cantoned at Takhtapul, near Mazari Sharif. The gardens to the north-east contained a caravanserai that formed one side of a courtyard, which was shaded by a group of magnificent chenar trees Platanus orientalis. Afghan Turkestan is the northern part of Afghanistan, on the border with the former Soviet republics of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. ... A caravanserai (also spelt caravansarai, caravansary Persian كاروانسرا, Turkish: kervansaray), means home or shelter for caravans (caravan meaning a group or convoy of soldiers, traders or pilgrims engaged in long distance travel). ... Species See text. ...


Balkh today

A project of modernization was undertaken in 1934, in which eight streets were laid out, housing and bazaars built. Modern Balkh is a center of the cotton industry, of the skins known commonly as "Persian" lamb, and for agricultural produce like almonds and melons. Numerous places of interest are to be seen today aside from the ancient ruins and fortifications:

  • The madrasa of Sayed Subhan Quli Khan.
  • Bala-Hesar, the shrine and mosque of Khaja Nasrat Parsa.
  • The tomb of the poetess Rabia Balkhi.
  • The Nine Domes Mosque (Masjid Now Gumbad). This exquisitely ornamented mosque, also referred to as Haji Piyada, is the earliest Islamic monument yet identified in Afghanistan.
  • The traditional bazaar.

see [1] Balkh Trading Co. Ltd] Madrassa in the Gambia The word madrassa in the Arabic language (and other languages of the Islamic nations such as Persian, Turkish, Indonesian etc. ...


Ancient ruins of Balkh

No professional archaeologist has ever been able to work at Balkh. Archaeology or sometimes in American English archeology (from the Greek words αρχαίος = ancient and λόγος = word/speech) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains, including architecture, artefacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ...


The earlier Buddhist constructions have proved more durable than the Islamic period buildings. The Top-Rustam is 50 yd (46 m) in diameter at the base and 30 yd (27 m) at the top, circular and about 50 ft (15 m) high. Four circular vaults are sunk in the interior and four passages have been pierced below from the outside, which probably lead to them. The base of the building is constructed of sun-dried bricks about 2 ft (600 mm) square and 4 or 5 in (100 to 130 mm) thick. The Takht-e Rustam is wedge-shaped in plan with uneven sides. It is apparently built of pisé mud (i.e. mud mixed with straw and puddled). It is possible that in these ruins we may recognize the Nan Vihara described by the Chinese traveller Xuanzang. There are the remains of many other topes (or stupas) in the neighborhood. A replica of an ancient statue found among the ruins of a temple at Sarnath Buddhism is a philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, a prince of the Shakyas, whose lifetime is traditionally given as 566 to 486 BCE. It had subsequently been accepted by... Rammed earth walls form part of the entrance building for the Eden Project in Cornwall, England. ... See also: Xuanzang (fictional character) A portrait of Xuanzang Xuanzang (Chinese: 玄奘; Pinyin: Xuán Zàng; Wade-Giles: Hsüan-tsang; Cantonese IPA: jyn4tsɔŋ1; Cantonese Jyutping: jyun4zong1) (602-644/664) was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk. ... Stupa at Samye Ling Monastery, Scotland A stupa (from the Sanskrit) is a type of Buddhist structure found across the Indian subcontinent, Asia and increasingly in the Western World. ...


The mounds of ruins on the road to Mazari Sharif probably represent the site of a city yet older than those on which stands the modern Balkh. Mazari Sharif , also known as Mazar-e-Sharif, Mazar-i Sharif, Mazār-e Sharīf and Mazar-i-Sharif (locally: مزار شریف), is the fourth biggest city in Afghanistan and the capital of Balkh province. ...


History of Balkh

The changing climate has led to desertification since antiquity, when the region was very fertile. The antiquity and greatness of the place are recognized by the native populations, who speak of it as the Mother of Cities and the birth place of Zoroaster at Balkh and also believed by Zoroastrians that he is buried there. Its foundation is mythically ascribed to Kaiomurs, the Persian Romulus; and it is at least certain that, at a very early date, it was the rival of Ecbatana, Nineveh and Babylon. There is a long-standing tradition that an ancient shrine of Anahita was to be found here, a temple so rich it invited plunder. Ship stranded by the retreat of the Aral Sea Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors including climatic variations, but primarily human activities. ... now. ... Zoroastrianism was adapted from an earlier, polytheistic faith by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) in Persia very roughly around 1000 BC (although, in the absence of written records, some scholars estimates are as late as 600 BC). ... The Persians of Iran (officially named Persia by West until 1935 while still referred to as Persia by some) are an Iranian people who speak Persian (locally named Fârsi by native speakers) and often refer to themselves as ethnic Iranians as well. ... Romulus (c. ... Golden Rhyton from Irans Achaemenid period. ... , For other uses, see Nineveh (disambiguation). ... Babylon was a city in Mesopotamia, the ruins of which can be found in present-day Babil Province, Iraq, about 50 miles south of Baghdad. ... Temple of Anahita: goddess of ancient Persia, Iran. ...


For a long time the city and country was the central seat of the Zoroastrian religion, the founder of which, Zoroaster, died within the walls, according to the Persian poet Firdousi. Armenian sources state that the Parthian Arsac established his capital here. Zoroastrianism was adapted from an earlier, polytheistic faith by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) in Persia very roughly around 1000 BC (although, in the absence of written records, some scholars estimates are as late as 600 BC). ... فردوسی Ferdowsi Ferdowsi Ferdowsi Tousi (فردوسی طوسی in Persian) (more commonly transliterated Firdausi) (935–1020) is considered to be one of the greatest Persian poets to have ever lived. ...


From the Memoirs of Xuanzang, we learn that, at the time of his visit in the 7th century, there were in the city, or its vicinity, about a hundred Buddhist convents, with 3,000 devotees, and that there was a large number of stupas, and other religious monuments. The most remarkable was the Nava Vihara, which possessed a very costly statue of Buddha. The temple was led by Kashmiri Brahmins called Pramukh (who, through the arabized form of the name, Barmak, came to be known as the Barmakids). Shortly before the Arabic conquest, the monastery became a Zoroastrian fire-temple. A curious notice of this building is found in the writings of Arabian geographer Ibn Hawqal, an Arabian traveler of the 10th century, who describes Balkh as built of clay, with ramparts and six gates, and extending half a parasang. He also mentions a castle and a mosque. See also: Xuanzang (fictional character) A portrait of Xuanzang Xuanzang (Chinese: 玄奘; Pinyin: Xuán Zàng; Wade-Giles: Hsüan-tsang; Cantonese IPA: jyn4tsɔŋ1; Cantonese Jyutping: jyun4zong1) (602-644/664) was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk. ... Nava Vihara (Sanskrit: नव विहार - New Temple or New Monastery (See Vihara), has been arabized as Nau Behar or Navbahar) was a buddhist temple or monastery near near the ancient city of Balkh, in the Khorasan province of Persia (now in present-day Afghanistan) The temple may have been an old Zoroastrian... Media:Example. ... The Barmakids (Persian: برمكيان Barmakīyān; Arabic: البرامكة al-barāmika, also called Barmecides) were a noble Persian family which attained great power under the Abbasid caliphs. ... 10th century map of the World by Ibn Hawqal. ...


At the time of the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century, however, Balkh had provided an outpost of resistance and a safe haven for the Persian emperor Yedzgird who fled there from the armies of Umar. The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau (Irān - Land of the Aryans[1]) and beyond. ... Image:Yazdegard iii. ...



Idrisi, in the 12th century, speaks of its possessing a variety of educational establishments, and carrying on an active trade. There were several important commercial routes from the city, stretching as far east as India and China. Al-Idrisis world map from 1154. ...


In 1220 Jenghiz Khan sacked Balkh, butchered its inhabitants and levelled all the buildings capable of defense — treatment to which it was again subjected in the 14th century by Timur. Notwithstanding this, however, Marco Polo could still, in the following century, describe it as "a noble city and a great." // The world in 1220 Middle Ages in Europe Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) Events Mongols first invade Abbasid caliphate - Bukhara and Samarkand taken End of the Kara-Khitan Khanate, destroyed by Genghis Khans Mongolian cavalry Dominican Order approved by Pope Honorius III Frederick II crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope... Genghis Khan (Mongolian: Чингис Хаан, Jenghis Khan, Jinghis Khan, Chinghiz Khan, Jinghiz Khan, Chinggis Khan, Changaiz Khan, original name Temüjin, Temuchin, Mongolian: Тэмүүжин) (c. ... Statue of Timur in Shahrisabz, Uzbekistan TÄ«mÅ«r bin Taraghay Barlas (Chagatai Turkic: تیمور, iron) (1336 – February 1405) was a 14th century warlord of Turco-Mongol descent[1][2][3], conqueror of much of Western and central Asia, and founder of the Timurid Empire (1370–1405) in Central Asia and... Marco Polo (September 15, 1254 – January 8, 1324) was a Venetian trader and explorer who, together with his father Niccolò and his uncle Maffeo, was one of the first Westerners to travel the Silk Road to China (which he called Cathay) and visited the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire...


In the 16th century the Uzbeks entered Balkh. The Moghul Shah Jahan fruitlessly fought them there for several years in the 1640s. Balkh formed the government seat of Aurangzeb in his youth. In 1736 it was conquered by Nadir Shah. Under the Durani monarchy it fell into the hands of the Afghans; it was conquered by Shah Murad of Kunduz in 1820, and for some time was subject to the Emirate of Bukhara. In 1850 Mahommed Akram Khan, Barakzai, captured Balkh, and from that time it remained under Afghan rule. Shahbuddin Mohammed Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan. ... Aurangzeb (borrowed from early Persian, اورنگ‌زیب Awrang throne and Zayb beauty, ornament),(November 3, 1618 – March 3, 1707, also known as Alamgir I, was the ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1658 until 1707. ... Events January 26 - Stanislaus I of Poland abdicates his throne. ... Nadir Shah’s portrait from the collection of Smithsonian Institute Nadir Shah (Persian: نادر شاه) (Nadir Qoli Beg (Persian: نادر قلی بیگ), also Tahmasp-Qoli Khan (Persian: تهماسپ قلی خان) also Nadir Shah Afshar (Persian: نادر شاه افشار) ) (October 22, 1688 - June 19, 1747) ruled as Shah of Iran (1736–47) and was the founder of the short-lived Turkic Afsharid... The Durrani or Abdali tribe is one of the two largest Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan and are also found in large numbers in western Pakistan. ... Shah is a Persian term for a monarch (king or emperor) that has been adopted in many other languages. ... President Celal Bayar, King Zahir and Lord Serwar Nasher inspecting the once world-renown cotton of Kunduz Spinzar factory Kunduz (قندوز) is a city in Afghanistan; the name has also sometimes been rendered as Kûnduz, Qonduz, Qondûz, Konduz, Kondûz, Kondoz, or Qhunduz. ... 1820 was a leap year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... The Emirate of Bukhara (1747-1920) was a state in Central Asia, with its capital in Bukhara and was a Russian protectorate from 1868. ... 1850 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


See also

The Barmakids (Persian: برمكيان Barmakīyān; Arabic: البرامكة al-barāmika, also called Barmecides) were a noble Persian family which attained great power under the Abbasid caliphs. ... Bahlika finds mention in Atharvaveda, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas, Vartikka of Katyayana, Brhatsamhita, Amarkosha etc and in the ancient Inscriptions. ...

External links

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911
  • (Balkh) Mazar-i-Sharif
  • Daud Saba's brief description, 1998
  • Tajik poets and others, many connected with Balkh.
  • Report on scavenging treasurer seekers at Balkh, January 20, 2002

  Results from FactBites:
 
Kabul Caravan - Country Guide - Balkh (595 words)
The Arabs called Balkh the "Mother of Cities" and the city became one of the great intellectual centres of early Islam, in part due to its Hellenic roots.
Despite a brief renaissance in the 15th century under the Timurids, Balkh was subsequently overshadowed by the expansion of nearby Mazar-e Sharif.
The ruins of ancient Balkh lie on the mainly on the north side of the town, and are unmissable in their scale.
Balkh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1265 words)
Today Balkh is a small town in the Province of Balkh, Afghanistan, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some 74 km (46 miles) south of the Amu Darya, the Oxus River of antiquity, of which a tributary formerly flowed past Balkh.
Balkh is now for the most part a mass of ruins, situated some 12 km from the right bank of the seasonally-flowing Balkh River, at an elevation of about 365 m (1,200 ft).
Because of a malaria outbreak during flood season at Balkh, the regional capital was shifted in the 1870s to Mazar-e Sharif.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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