Mazar-i-Sharif

Mazar-i-Sharif, also spelled Mazār-e Sharīf, often called just Mazar, is the fourth-largest city of Afghanistan. It is the capital of Balkh province and is linked by highways with Kunduz in the east, Kabul in the southeast, Herat in the west and Samarkand in Uzbekistan in the north. It is about 55 km (34 mi) from the Uzbek border. The city also serves as one of the many tourist attractions because of its famous shrines as well as the Islamic and Hellenistic archeological sites. The ancient city of Balkh is also nearby.

The name Mazar-i-Sharif means “Tomb of the Prince”, a reference to the large, blue-tiled sanctuary and mosque in the center of the city known as the Shrine of Ali or the Blue Mosque. Some Hazaras believe that the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, is at this mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, after Ali’s remains were transferred to Mazar-i-Sharif as per request of Ja’far as-Sadiq. This is however rejected by non-Hazara Muslims, as the majority believe he is buried in Najaf, Iraq.


The region around Mazar-i-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. Mazar-i-Sharif is also known for the famous Afghan song Bia ke berem ba Mazar (Come let’s go to Mazar) by Sarban.


Population: 693,000(2015)


Climate


Mazar-i-Sharif has a cold steppe climate (Köppen climate classification BSk) with hot summers and cold winters. Precipitation is low, and mostly falls between December and April. The climate in Mazar-i-Sharif is very hot during the summer with daily temperatures of over 40 °C (104 °F) from June to August. The winters are cold with temperatures falling below freezing; it may snow from November.


Economy


Mazar-i-Sharif serves as the major trading center in northern Afghanistan. The local economy is dominated by trade, agriculture and Karakul sheep farming. Small-scale oil and gas exploitation have also boosted the city’s prospects. It is also the location of consulates of India and Pakistan for trading and political links.


Transportation


Rail
It became the first city in Afghanistan to connect itself by rail with a neighboring country. Rail service from Mazar-i-Sharif to Uzbekistan began in December 2011 and cargo on freight trains arrive at a station near Mazar-i-Sharif Airport, where the goods are reloaded onto trucks or airplanes and sent to their last destinations across Afghanistan.
Air
As of June 2016 Mazar-i-Sharif Airport had direct air connections to Kabul, Mashad, Tehran, and Istanbul.
Road
Highway AH76 links Mazar-i-Sharif to Sheberghan in the west, and Pul-e Khomri and Kabul to the south-east. Roads to the east link it to Kunduz. Roads to the north link it to the Uzbek border town Termez, where it becomes highway M39 going north to Samarkand and Tashkent. Roads to the south link it to Bamiyan Province and the mountainous range of central Afghanistan.
Taxis are plentiful and should cost 30 Afg or less around town. Negotiate a price before setting off.


Safety


Aside from the inherent risks faced by coming to Afghanistan in such a time of turmoil, Mazar remains relatively peaceful and safe for travelers. Bearing in mind that things can change very quickly, avoid walking at night if possible, always remain friendly and upbeat, and keep aware of your surroundings. Treat police with kindness and smiles even if they aren’t showing you the same respect – unfriendly passport checks are not unheard of.
Show respect for the religion, culture and people’s customs. Humility is appreciated.


Attraction in Mazar-i-Sharif

Rawza e Mubarak Museum is a Museum located in Mazari Sharif, Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh, Afghanistan.

The Blue Mosque is a mosque located in the center of Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. The Seljuq dynasty sultan Ahmed Sanjar built the first known shrine at this location.


Accommodation


Flights

Comments are closed.