mazar sharif

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Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan  

The region around Mazar-e-Sharif has been historically part of Greater Khorasan and was controlled by the Tahirids followed by the Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Ilkhanates, Timurids, and Khanate of Bukhara until the mid-18th century when it became part of the Durrani Empire after a friendship treaty was signed between emirs Murad Beg and Ahmad Shah Durrani.  The famous Persian poet rumi was born in this area as well as other historical Eastern Persian figures.

Nava Vihara in Balkh: Sun/Fire Temple.

Nau-Vihara Temple: Balkh is one of the oldest towns in the world, being the birthplace of Zoraster. As per Zorastrian tradition Balkh was built by first Aryan ruler Bakhdi. Ancient Greek historians called, it Bactra, (Baktra or Bactria) and the whole country ‘Bactriana’. Situated in north-west Afghanistan, its present capital is Mazar-i-Sharif. It is a small town now, lying in ruins.The Nava-Vihara was also an important Buddhist monastery in Balkh for advance learning. It was a strongly built Vihara and was remarkable for its imposing structure. This Vihara was most sacred place of Balkh for it housed in its shrine-hall the water-basin (pot) and a tooth-relic of the Buddha,

Norooz celebrations in Mazar-i Sharif (Balkh province) - Afghanistan

The Persian new year festival Norooz has its roots in the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism which was the state religion of the Persian empire before Islam.

According to the legendary Persian poet Ferdowsi & many Iranologists including Richard Nelson Frye, Zoroaster (the founder of Zoroastrianism) first began to preach the religion in Balkh. He eventually died there too.

AFGHANISTAN, Mazar-i-Sharif - This photograph taken on April 6, 2016 shows Afghan labourers working at a brick factory on the outskirts Mazar-i-Sharif. Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with nearly half the population estimated to be living below the poverty line. / AFP PHOTO / Farshad USYAN