Mazar-e-sharif means Noble Shrine, the shrine of Hazrat Ali (The 4th caliph and son-in-law of prophet Muhammad). Mazar-e-sharif has grown into a city; the nature of it being a pilgrimage place makes it quite a safe heaven in Afghanistan. That said, it was not spared by the Taliban. While most muslims believe Ali to be buried in Najaf, Iraq near to where he was killed, there were tales that some of Ali‘s followers worried that his body would be desecrated by his enemies and was secretly carried away. A local imam had a dream in the 12th century that it was buried near Balkh, an ancient town of Bactria and on the silk road, and the tomb was later discovered at the current location of the shrine. Genghis Khan and Tamerlame trashed the town, and the shrine was rebuilt by the Seljuks in the 15th century.
NOBLE SHRINE OF HAZRAT ALI
Mazar-e-Sharif started as a pilgrimage town in northern Afghanistan. Ali is believed to be buried in Najaf in Iraq near where he was killed in 632AD. A group of nobles had simultaneous dream revealing the actual burial location of the Ali near Balkh. A tomb behind steel door was found, and the shrine was built – that became Mazar-e-Sherif. The town grew ever since, especially during the perIod of the civil war.
MAZAR WHITE PIGEONS
White pigeons from Mazar-e-sharif are renown throughout Afghanistan. It is believed that every theres a soul in one out of every 9 pigeons. If a grey pigeon comes, it will become white in 40 days.
BALKH ANCIENT CITY WALL
Balkh was the capital of Bactria, a Persian satrapy. These ancient walls were built with mud strnegthened by straws and human bones.
One of the lesser-known curiosities of Afghanistan. A Buddhist monastery built into solid stone, with a square building above, Takht-e-Rustam is named after a hero from Persian mythology (Rostam), and dates from from the 4th-5th centuries.