HOME
The Info List - Bactra





Balkh
Balkh
(/bɑːlx/; Pashto
Pashto
and Persian: بلخ‬‎; Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
and Bactrian: Βάχλο Bakhlo) is a town in the Balkh Province
Balkh Province
of Afghanistan, about 20 km (12 mi) northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some 74 km (46 mi) south of the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
river and the Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
border. It was historically an ancient centre of Buddhism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
and one of the major cities of Khorasan, since the latter's earliest history. The ancient city of Balkh
Balkh
was known to the Ancient Greeks as Bactra, giving its name to Bactria. It was mostly known as the centre and capital of Bactria
Bactria
or Tokharistan. Marco Polo
Marco Polo
described Balkh
Balkh
as a "noble and great city".[1] Balkh
Balkh
is now for the most part a mass of ruins, situated some 12 km (7.5 mi) from the right bank of the seasonally flowing Balkh
Balkh
River, at an elevation of about 365 m (1,200 ft). French Buddhist
Buddhist
Alexandra David-Néel
Alexandra David-Néel
associated Shambhala
Shambhala
with Balkh, also offering the Persian Sham-i-Bala, "elevated candle" as an etymology of its name.[2] In a similar vein, the Gurdjieffian J. G. Bennett published speculation that Shambalha was Shams-i-Balkh, a Bactrian sun temple.[3]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 History

2.1 Bactrian religion 2.2 Buddhism 2.3 Judaism 2.4 Arab invasion 2.5 From Saffarids
Saffarids
to Khwarezmshahs 2.6 Mongols 2.7 Modern times 2.8 Balkh
Balkh
in 1911 2.9 Balkh
Balkh
today

3 Main sights

3.1 Ancient ruins of Balkh 3.2 Others 3.3 Balkh
Balkh
Museum

4 Cultural role

4.1 Other notable people

5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

Etymology[edit] The Bactrian language
Bactrian language
name of the city was βαχλο Bakhlo. The name of the province or country also appears in the Old Persian inscriptions (B.h.i 16; Dar Pers e.16; Nr. a.23) as Bāxtri, i.e. Bakhtri. It is written in the Avesta as Bāxδi. From this came the intermediate form Bāxli, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Bahlīka (also Balhika) for "Bactrian", and by transposition the modern Persian Balx, i.e. Balkh, and Armenian Bahl.[4] History[edit] Balkh
Balkh
is considered to be the first city to which the Indo-Iranian tribes moved from north of the Amu Darya, between 2000 and 1500 BC.[5] The Arabs
Arabs
called it Umm Al-Belaad or Mother of Cities on account of its antiquity. The city was traditionally a center of Zoroastrianism.[6] The name Zariaspa, which is either an alternate name for Balkh
Balkh
or a term for part of the city, may derive from the important Zoroastrian fire temple Azar-i-Asp.[6] Balkh
Balkh
was regarded as the place where Zoroaster
Zoroaster
first preached his religion, as well as the place where he died.

Map showing Balkh
Balkh
(here indicated as Bactres), the capital of Bactria

Since the Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranians
built their first kingdom in Balkh[7] (Bactria, Daxia, Bukhdi) some scholars[who?] believe that it was from this area that different waves of Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranians
spread to north-east Iran
Iran
and Seistan
Seistan
region, where they, in part, became today's Persians, Tajiks, Pashtuns
Pashtuns
and Baluch people of the region.[citation needed] The changing climate has led to desertification since antiquity, when the region was very fertile.[citation needed] Its foundation is mythically ascribed to Keyumars, the first king of the world in Persian legend; and it is at least certain that, at a very early date, it was the rival of Ecbatana, Nineveh
Nineveh
and Babylon. For a long time the city and country was the central seat of the dualistic Zoroastrian religion, the founder of which, Zoroaster, died within the walls according to the Persian poet Firdowsi. Armenian sources state that the Arsacid Dynasty of the Parthian Empire established its capital in Balkh. There is a long-standing tradition that an ancient shrine of Anahita
Anahita
was to be found here, a temple so rich it invited plunder. Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
married Roxana
Roxana
of Bactria after killing the king of Balkh.[8] The city was the capital of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
and was besieged for three years by the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
(208–206 BC). After the demise of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom, it was ruled by Indo-Scythians, Parthians, Indo-Parthians, Kushan Empire, Indo-Sassanids, Kidarites, Hephthalite Empire
Hephthalite Empire
and Sassanid Persians before the arrival of the Arabs.

Part of a series on the

History of Afghanistan

Timeline

Ancient

Indus Valley Civilisation 2200–1800 BC

Oxus
Oxus
civilization 2100–1800 BC

Aryans 1700–700 BC

Median Empire 728–550 BC

Achaemenid Empire 550–330 BC

Seleucid Empire 330–150 BC

Maurya Empire 305–180 BC

Greco-Bactrian Kingdom 256–125 BC

Parthian Empire 247 BC–224 AD

Indo-Greek Kingdom 180–130 BC

Indo-Scythian Kingdom 155–80? BC

Kushan Empire 135 BC – 248 AD

Indo-Parthian Kingdom 20 BC – 50? AD

Sasanian Empire 230–651

Kidarite Kingdom 320–465

Alchon Huns 380–560

Hephthalite Empire 410–557

Nezak Huns 484–711

Medieval

Kabul
Kabul
Shahi 565–879

Principality of Chaghaniyan 7th–8th centuries

Rashidun Caliphate 652–661

Umayyads 661–750

Abbasids 750–821

Tahirids 821–873

Saffarids 863–900

Samanids 875–999

Ghaznavids 963–1187

Ghurids before 879–1215

Seljuks 1037–1194

Khwarezmids 1215–1231

Qarlughids 1224–1266

Ilkhanate 1258–1353

Chagatai Khanate 1225–1370

Khaljis 1290–1320

Karts 1245–1381

Timurids 1370–1507

Arghuns 1479–1522

Modern

Mughals 1501–1738

Safavids 1510–1709

Hotak dynasty 1709–1738

Afsharid dynasty 1738–1747

Durrani Empire 1747–1826

Emirate of Afghanistan 1826–1919

Kingdom of Afghanistan 1919–1973

Republic of Afghanistan 1973–1978

Democratic Republic of Afghanistan 1978–1992

Islamic State of Afghanistan 1992–2001

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan 1996–2004

Interim/Transitional Administration 2001–2004

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan since 2004

Book Category Portal

v t e

Bactrian religion[edit] Bactrian documents - in the Bactrian language, written from the fourth to eighth centuries - consistently evoke the name of local deities, such as Kamird and Wakhsh, for example, as witnesses to contracts. The documents come from an area between Balkh
Balkh
and Bamiyan, which is part of Bactria.[9] Buddhism[edit] Balkh
Balkh
town is well-known to Buddhist
Buddhist
countries because of two great Buddhist
Buddhist
monks of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
– Trapusa and Bahalika. There are two stupas over their relics. According to a popular legend, Buddhism
Buddhism
was introduced in Balkh
Balkh
by Bhallika, disciple of Buddha, and the city derives its name from him. He was a merchant of the region and had come from Bodhgaya. In literature, Balkh
Balkh
has been described as Balhika, Valhika or Bahlika. First Vihara at Balkh
Balkh
was built for Bhallika when he returned home after becoming a Buddhist
Buddhist
monk. Xuanzang
Xuanzang
visited Balkh
Balkh
in 630 when it was a flourishing centre of Hinayana
Hinayana
Buddhism. According to the Memoirs of Xuanzang, there were about a hundred Buddhist
Buddhist
convents in the city or its vicinity at the time of his visit there in the 7th century. There were 3,000 monks and a large number of stupas and other religious monuments. The most remarkable stupa was the Navbahara (Sanskrit, Nav Vihara: New Monastery), which possessed a gigantic statue of Buddha. Shortly before the Arab conquest, the monastery became a Zoroastrian fire-temple. A curious reference to this building is found in the writings of the geographer Ibn Hawqal, an Arab traveller of the 10th century, who describes Balkh
Balkh
as built of clay, with ramparts and six gates, and extending for half a parasang. He also mentions a castle and a mosque. A Chinese pilgrim, Fa-Hein, (c.400) found Hinayana
Hinayana
practice prevalent in Shan Shan, Kucha, Kashgar, Osh, Udayana and Gandhara. Xuanzang remarked that Buddhism
Buddhism
was widely practised by the Hunnish rulers of Balkh, who descended from Indian royal stock.[10] A Korean monk, Huichao, noted as late as the Eighth century after the Arab invasion that the residents of Balkh
Balkh
practiced Buddhism
Buddhism
and followed a Buddhist
Buddhist
king. He noted the Arab invasion and that the king of Balkh
Balkh
at the time had fled to nearby Badakshan.[11] Furthermore, we know that a number of Buddhist
Buddhist
religious centres flourished in Khorasan. The most important was the Nawbahar (New Temple) near the town of Balkh, which evidently served as a pilgrimage centre for political leaders who came from far and wide to pay homage to it.[12] A large number of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
medical, pharmacological toxicological texts were translated into Arabic under the patronage of Khalid, the vizier of Al-Mansur. Khalid was the son of a chief priest of a Buddhist
Buddhist
monastery. Some of the family were killed when the Arabs captured Balkh; others including Khalid survived by converting to Islam. They were to be known as the Barmikis of Baghdad.[13] Judaism[edit] An ancient Jewish community existed in Balkh
Balkh
as recorded by the Arab historian Al-Maqrizi who wrote that the community was established by the transfer of Jews to Balkh
Balkh
by the Assyrian King Sennacherib. A Bāb al-Yahūd (Gate of Jews) and al-Yahūdiyya (Jewish town) in Balkh
Balkh
is attested to by Arab geographers.[14] Muslim tradition stated that the prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah
fled to Balkh
Balkh
and that Ezekiel
Ezekiel
was buried there.[15] This Jewish community was noted in the eleventh century as the Jews of the city were forced to maintain a garden for the Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni for which they paid a tax of 500 dirhems. According to Jewish oral history, Timur
Timur
gave the Jews of Balkh
Balkh
a city quarter of their own with a gate to close it.[16] The Jewish community in Balkh
Balkh
was reported as late as the nineteenth century where Jews still resided in a special quarter of the city.[17] The famed Jewish exegete Hiwi al-Balkhi was from Balkh. Arab invasion[edit]

A silver dirham of the Umayyad
Umayyad
Caliphate, minted at Balkh
Balkh
al-Baida in AH 111 (= 729/30 CE).

At the time of the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century, however, Balkh
Balkh
had provided an outpost of resistance and a safe haven for the Persian emperor Yazdegerd III who fled there from the armies of Umar. Later, in the 9th century, during the reign of Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar, Islam
Islam
became firmly rooted in the local population. Arabs
Arabs
occupied Persia in 642 (during the Caliphate of Uthman, 644–656 AD). Attracted by the grandeur and wealth of Balkh, they attacked it in 645 AD. It was only in 653 when Arab commander al-Ahnaf raided the town again and compelled it to pay tribute. The Arab hold over the town, however, remained tenuous. The area was brought under Arab control only after it was reconquered by Muawiya in 663 AD. Prof. Upasak describes the effect of this conquest in these words: "The Arabs
Arabs
plundered the town and killed the people indiscriminately. It is said that they raided the famous Buddhist
Buddhist
shrine of Nava-Vihara, which the Arab historians call 'Nava Bahara' and describe it as one of the magnificent places, which comprised a range of 360 cells around the high stupas'. They plundered the gems and jewels that were studded on many images and stupas and took away the wealth accumulated in the Vihara but probably did no considerable harm to other monastic buildings or to the monks residing there". The Arab attacks had little effect on the normal ecclesiastical life in the monasteries or Balkh
Balkh
Buddhist
Buddhist
population outside. Buddhism continued to flourish with their monasteries as the centres of Buddhist
Buddhist
learning and training. Scholars, monks and pilgrims from China, India
India
and Korea continued to visit this place. Several revolts were made against the Arab rule in Balkh. The Arabs' control over Balkh
Balkh
did not last long as it soon came under the rule of a local prince, a zealous Buddhist
Buddhist
called Nazak (or Nizak) Tarkhan. He expelled the Arabs
Arabs
from his territories in 670 or 671. He is said to have not only reprimanded the Chief Priest (Barmak) of Nava-Vihara but beheaded him for embracing Islam. As per another account, when Balkh
Balkh
was conquered by the Arabs, the head priest of the Nava-Vihara had gone to the capital and became a Muslim. This displeased the people of the Balkh. He was deposed and his son was placed in his position. Nazak Tarkhan is also said to have murdered not only the Chief Priest but also his sons. Only a young son was saved. He was taken by his mother to Kashmir where he was given training in medicine, astronomy and other sciences. Later they returned to Balkh. Prof. Maqbool Ahmed observes "One is tempted to think that the family originated from Kashmir, for in time of distress, they took refuge in the Valley. Whatever it be, their Kashmiri origin is undoubted and this also explains the deep interest of the Barmaks, in later years, in Kashmir, for we know they were responsible for inviting several scholars and physicians from Kashmir to the Court of Abbasids." Prof. Maqbool also refers to the descriptions of Kashmir contained in the report prepared by the envoy of Yahya bin Barmak. He surmises that the envoy could have possibly visited Kashmir during the reign of Samgramapida II (797–801). Reference has been made to sages and arts. The Arabs
Arabs
managed to bring Balkh
Balkh
under their control only in 715 AD, in spite of strong resistance offered by the Balkh
Balkh
people during the Umayyad
Umayyad
period. Qutayba ibn Muslim al-Bahili, an Arab General was Governor of Khurasan
Khurasan
and the east from 705 to 715. He established a firm hold over lands beyond the Oxus
Oxus
for the Arabs. He fought and killed Tarkhan Nizak in Tokharistan
Tokharistan
(Bactria) in 715. In the wake of Arab conquest, the resident monks of the Vihara were either killed or forced to abandon their faith. The Viharas were razed to the ground. Priceless treasures in the form of manuscripts in the libraries of monasteries were consigned to ashes. Presently, only the ancient wall of the town, which once encircled it, stands partially. Nava-Vihara stands in ruins, near Takhta-i-Rustam.[18] In 726, the Umayyad governor Asad ibn Abdallah al-Qasri
Asad ibn Abdallah al-Qasri
rebuilt Balkh
Balkh
and installed in it an Arab garrison,[19] while in his second governorship, a decade later, he transferred the provincial capital there.[20] The Umayyad
Umayyad
period lasted until 747, when Abu Muslim captured it for the Abbasids
Abbasids
(next Sunni Caliphate dynasty) during the Abbasid Revolution. The city remained in Abbasid
Abbasid
hands until 821, when it was taken over by the Tahirid dynasty, albeit still in the Abbasids' name. In 870, the Saffarids
Saffarids
captured it. From Saffarids
Saffarids
to Khwarezmshahs[edit] In 870, Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar
Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar
rebelled against Abbasid
Abbasid
rule and founded the Saffarid dynasty
Saffarid dynasty
at Sistan. He captured present Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and most of present Iran. His successor Amr ibn al-Layth, tried to capture Transoxiana
Transoxiana
from the Samanids, who were nominally vassals of Abbasids, but he was defeated and captured by Ismail Samani at Battle of Balkh in 900. He was sent to the Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliph as a prisoner and was executed in 902. The power of Saffarids
Saffarids
was diminished and they became vassals of the Samanids. Thus Balkh
Balkh
now passed to them. Samanid rule in Balkh
Balkh
lasted until 997, when their former subordinates, the Ghaznavids, captured it. In 1006, Balkh
Balkh
was captured by Karakhanids, but Ghaznavids
Ghaznavids
recaptured it 1008. Finally, the Seljuks (Turks) conquered Balkh
Balkh
in 1059. In 1115, it was occupied and looted by irregular Oghuz Turks. Between 1141 and 1142, Balkh
Balkh
was captured by Atsiz, Shah
Shah
of Khwarezm, after the Seljuks were defeated by the Kara-Khitan
Kara-Khitan
Khanate at the Battle of Qatwan. Ahmad Sanjar decisively defeated a Ghurid army, commanded by Ala al-Din Husayn and he took him prisoner for two years before releasing him as a vassal of the Seljuks. The next year, he marched against rebellious Oghuz Turks from Khuttal and Tukharistan. But he was defeated twice and was captured after a second battle in Merv. The Oghuzs looted Khorasan after their victory. Balkh
Balkh
was nominally ruled by Mahmud Khan, the former khan of Western Karakhanids, but the real power was held by Muayyid al-Din Ay Aba, amir of Nishabur
Nishabur
for three years. Sanjar finally escaped from captivity and returned to Merv
Merv
through Termez. He died in 1157 and control of Balkh
Balkh
passed to Mahmud Khan until his death in 1162. It was captured by Khwarezmshahs in 1162, by the Kara Khitans in 1165, by the Ghurids
Ghurids
in 1198 and again by Khwarezmshahs in 1206. Muhammad al-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
India
and China. The late 12th-century local chronicle The Merits of Balkh
Balkh
(Fada'il-i-Balkh), by Abu Bakr Abdullah al-Wa'iz al-Balkhi, states that a woman known only as the khatun (lady) of Davud, from 848 appointed governor of Balkh, had taken over from him with "particular responsibility for the city and people" while he was busy building himself an elaborate pleasure palace called Nawshǎd (New Joy).[21] Mongols[edit] In 1220 Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
sacked Balkh, butchered its inhabitants and levelled all the buildings capable of defence – treatment to which it was again subjected in the 14th century by Timur. Notwithstanding this, however, Marco Polo
Marco Polo
(probably referring to its past) could still describe it as "a noble city and a great seat of learning." For when Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
visited Balkh
Balkh
around 1333 during the rule of the Kartids, who were Tadjik vassals of the Persia-based Mongol
Mongol
Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
until 1335, he described it as a city still in ruins: "It is completely dilapidated and uninhabited, but anyone seeing it would think it to be inhabited because of the solidity of its construction (for it was a vast and important city), and its mosques and colleges preserve their outward appearance even now, with the inscriptions on their buildings incised with lapis-blue paints."[22] It was not reconstructed until 1338. It was captured by Tamerlane
Tamerlane
in 1389 and its citadel was destroyed, but Shah
Shah
Rukh, his successor, rebuilt the citadel in 1407. Modern times[edit] In 1506 Uzbeks
Uzbeks
entered Balkh
Balkh
under the command of Muhammad Shaybani. They were briefly expelled by the Safavids
Safavids
in 1510. Babur
Babur
ruled Balkh between 1511 and 1512 as a vassal of the Persian Safavids. But he was defeated twice by the Khanate of Bukhara
Khanate of Bukhara
and was forced to retire to Kabul. Balkh
Balkh
was ruled by Bukhara except for Safavid rule between 1598 and 1601. The Moghul Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan
fruitlessly fought them there for several years in the 1640s. Nevertheless, Balkh
Balkh
was ruled by the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
from 1641 and turned into a subah (imperial top-level province) in 1646 by Shah
Shah
Jahan, only to be lost in 1647, just like the neighboring Badakhshan Subah. Balkh
Balkh
was the government seat of Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
in his youth. In 1736 it was conquered by Nader Shah. After his assassination, local Uzbek Hadji Khan declared the independence of Balkh
Balkh
in 1747, but he submitted to Bukhara in 1748. Under the Durani monarchy it fell into the hands of the Afghans in 1752. Bukhara regained it in 1793. It was conquered by Shah
Shah
Murad of Kunduz
Kunduz
in 1826, and for some time was subject to the Emirate of Bukhara. In 1850, Dost Mohammad Khan, the Emir of Afghanistan, captured Balkh, and from that time it remained under Afghan rule.[23] In 1866, after a malaria outbreak during the flood season, Balkh
Balkh
lost its administrative status to the neighbouring city of Mazar-e Sharif.[24][25] Balkh
Balkh
in 1911[edit] In 1911 Balkh
Balkh
comprised a settlement of about 500 houses of 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
Mongol
origin to the compilers. The fort and citadel to the north-east were built well above the town on a barren mound and were walled and moated. There was, however, little left of them but the remains of a few pillars. The Green Mosque Masjid Sabz, named for its green-tiled dome (see photograph top right corner) and said to be the tomb of the Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa, had nothing but the arched entrance remaining of the former madrasa. The town was garrisoned by a few thousand irregulars (kasidars), the regular troops of Afghan Turkestan
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 chenar trees Platanus
Platanus
orientalis.[26] Balkh
Balkh
today[edit] A project of modernization was undertaken in 1934, in which eight streets were laid out, housing and bazaars built. Modern Balkh
Balkh
is a centre of the cotton industry, of the skins known commonly in the West as "Persian lamb" (Karakul), and for agricultural produce like almonds and melons. The site and the museum have suffered from looting and uncontrolled digging during the 1990s civil war. After the Taliban's fall in 2001 some poor residents digged in an attempt to sell ancient treasures. The provisional Afghan government said in January 2002 that it had stopped the looting.[27] Main sights[edit] Ancient ruins of Balkh[edit]

Remains of a Hellenistic capital found in Balkh.

The earlier Buddhist
Buddhist
constructions have proved more durable than the Islamic period buildings. The Top-Rustam is 46 m (50 yd) in diameter at the base and 27 m (30 yd) at the top, circular and about 15 m (50 ft) 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 60 cm (2 ft) square and 100 to 130 mm (4 or 5 in) 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 Nava Vihara described by the Chinese traveller Xuanzang. There are the remains of many other topes (or stupas) in the neighbourhood.[28] The mounds of ruins on the road to Mazar-e Sharif
Mazar-e Sharif
probably represent the site of a city yet older than those on which stands the modern Balkh.[citation needed] Others[edit] 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 Khwaja Nasr Parsa. The tomb of the poet Rabi'a Balkhi. The Nine Domes Mosque (Masjid-e Noh Gonbad). This exquisitely ornamented mosque, also referred to as Haji Piyada, is the earliest Islamic monument yet identified in Afghanistan. Tepe Rustam and Takht-e Rustam

Balkh
Balkh
Museum[edit] The Balkh
Balkh
Museum was formerly the second largest museum in the country, but its collection has suffered from looting in recent times.[29] The museum is also known as the Museum of the Blue Mosque, from the building it shares with a religious library. As well as exhibits from the ancient ruins of Balkh, the collection includes works of Islamic art including a 13th-century Quran, and examples of Afghan decorative and folk art. Cultural role[edit] Balkh
Balkh
had a major role in the development of the Persian language
Persian language
and literature. The early works of Persian literature
Persian literature
were written by poets and writers who were originally from Balkh. Many famous Persian poets came from Balkh, e.g.:

Mawlānā Rūmī, born and educated in Balkh, in the 13th century Amir Khusraw Dehlavi, whose father, Amir Saifuddin, was from Balkh Manuchihri Damghani, born in Balkh, according to Dawlat Shah Samarkandi Rashidudin Watwat, a poet Sanih Balkhi, a poet Shaheed Balkhi, Abul Muwayed Balkhi, Abu Shukur Balkhi, Ma'roofi Balkhi, early poets of the 9th/10th centuries Rabi'a Balkhi, first woman poet in the history of Persian poetry, lived in the 10th century Avicenna
Avicenna
or Ibn Sina, 10th-century philosopher and scientist whose father was a Balkh
Balkh
native Unsuri Balkhi, 10th/11th-century poet Anvari, 12th century, lived and died in Balkh Daqiqi Balkhi, Abu Mansur Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Daqiqi Balkhi. Born in Balkh

Other notable people[edit]

Ibrahim ibn Adham, a Sufi
Sufi
saint and reputedly ruler of Balkh Khalid ibn Barmak, wazir of the Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
and member of the prominent Barmakid family Abu Zayd al-Balkhi, Persian (850–934), polymath: geographer, mathematician, physician, psychologist and scientist Abu Ma'shar al-Balkhi, astrologer and astronomer at the Abbasid
Abbasid
court, Islamic philosopher Hiwi al-Balkhi, Bukharan Jewish exegete and Biblical critic Abu-Shakur Balkhi (915–?), Persian poet Ibn Balkhi, a conventional name for a 12th-century Iranian historian and author of the Persian book Fārs-Nāma Abdullah, father of Avicenna
Avicenna
and respected Ismaili
Ismaili
scholar [30][31]

See also[edit]

The Bahlikas Balhae Hiwi al-Balkhi The Barmakids, who were from that city. Mount Imeon Vishtaspa Roxana Silk Road transmission of Buddhism Balkh
Balkh
Province

References[edit]

^ "City of Balkh
Balkh
(antique Bactria)". UNESCO World Heritage Centre.  ^ David-Néel, A. Les Nouvelles littéraires;1954, p.1 ^ Bennett, J.G: "Gurdjieff: aking a New World". Bennett notes Idries Shah
Shah
as the source of the suggestion. ^ Daniel Coit Gilman, Harry Thurston Peck and Frank Moore Colby: The New International Encyclopædia, Volume 2, Dodd, Mead and Company, 1902, p. 341. ^ Nancy Hatch Dupree, An Historical Guide to Afghanistan, 1977, Kabul, Afghanistan ^ a b The Greeks in Bactria
Bactria
and India. William Woodthorpe Tarn. 1st Edition, 1938; 2nd Updated Edition, 1951. 3rd Edition, updated with a Preface and a new bibliography by Frank Lee Holt. Ares Publishers, Inc., Chicago. 1984. (1984), pp. 114–115 and n. 1. ^ "IRAN vi. IRANIAN LANGUAGES AND SCRIPTS (1) E – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Retrieved 2 June 2015.  ^ Lynne O'Donnell (20 October 2013). "Silk Road jewel reveals more of its treasures". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2013.  ^ Azad, A. (2013). Sacred Landscape in Medieval Afghanistan: Revisiting the Faḍāʾil-i Balkh. OUP.  ^ Buddhism
Buddhism
in Central Asia by Baij Nath Puri, Motilal Banarsi Dass Publishers, Page 130 ^ van Bladel, Kevin (2011). "The Bactrian Background of the Barmakids". In A. Akasoy, C. Burnett and R. Yoeli-Tlalim. Islam
Islam
and Tibet: Interactions along the Musk Routes. London: Ashgate. pp. 43–88.  ^ Reinterpreting Islamic Historiography: Hārūn al-Rashīd and the narrative of the ʻAbbāsid caliphate by Tayeb El-Hibri published by Cambridge University Press, 1999 Page 8 ISBN 0-521-65023-2, ISBN 978-0-521-65023-6 ^ India, the Ancient Past: a history of the Indian sub-continent from c. 7000 BC to AD 1200 by Burjor Avari Edition: illustrated Published by Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-415-35616-4, ISBN 978-0-415-35616-9 Page 220. Of course, Kashmir was not considered a part of India, nor did Kashmiris ever refer to themselves as Indian. ^ Ben Zion Yehoshua-Raz (2010). Stillman, Norman, ed. Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Brill Publishing.  ^ Fischel (1971). Encyclopedia Judaica (4 ed.). p. 147.  ^ Shterenshis, Michael (2013). Tamerlane
Tamerlane
and the Jews. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p. 58. ISBN 113687366X.  ^ Vladimirovich Barthold, Vasilii; Soucek, Sivat (2014). An Historical Geography of Iran. Princeton University Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0691612072.  ^ Kumar, Ramesh. "The Rise Of Barmarks". Kashmir News Network.  ^ Blankinship, Khalid Yahya, ed. (1989). The History of Al-Tabari, Vol. XXV, The End of Expansion: The Caliphate of Hisham A.D. 724–738/A.H. 105–120. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. pp. 26–27. ISBN 0-88706-569-4.  ^ Blankinship, Khalid Yahya, ed. (1989). The History of Al-Tabari, Vol. XXV, The End of Expansion: The Caliphate of Hisham A.D. 724–738/A.H. 105–120. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. p. 128. ISBN 0-88706-569-4.  ^ Arezou Azad: "Islam's forgotten scholars", History Today, Vol. 66, No. 10 (October 2016), p. 27. ^ Gibb, H.A.R. trans. and ed. (1971). The Travels of Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, A.D. 1325–1354 (Volume 3). London: Hakluyt Society. p. 571. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ "Persia, Arabia, etc". World Digital Library. 1852. Retrieved 2013-07-27.  ^ Grenet, F. "BALK". Encyclopædia Iranica (Online ed.). United States: Columbia University. Archived from the original on 2009-01-02. Retrieved January 2008.  Check date values in: access-date= (help) ^ Cox FE (October 2002). "History of Human Parasitology". Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 15: 595–612. doi:10.1128/cmr.15.4.595-612.2002. PMC 126866 . PMID 12364371.  ^  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Balkh". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20050321051938/http://www.museum-security.org/02/012.html2 ^ Azad, Arezou (12 December 2013). Sacred Landscape in Medieval Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Revisiting the Faḍāʾil-i Balkh. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-968705-3.  ^ "UNHCR eCentre". Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2015.  ^ Corbin, Henry (1993) [First published French 1964)]. History of Islamic Philosophy, Translated by Liadain Sherrard, Philip Sherrard. London; Kegan Paul International in association with Islamic Publications for The Institute of Ismaili
Ismaili
Studies. pp. 167–175. ISBN 0-7103-0416-1. OCLC 22109949.  ^ Adamson, Peter (2016). Philosophy in the Islamic World: A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. Oxford University Press. p. 113. ISBN 0199577498. 

Further reading[edit]

Published in the 19th century

Edward Balfour
Edward Balfour
(1885), "Balkh", Cyclopaedia of India
India
(3rd ed.), London: B. Quaritch 

Published in the 21st century

"Balkh". Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art & Architecture. Oxford University Press. 2009.  Azad, Arezou. Sacred Landscape in Medieval Afghanistan: Revisiting the Faḍāʾil-i Balkh. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-968705-3. 

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Balkh.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Balkh.

The Balkh
Balkh
Art and Cultural Heritage Project housed at the Oriental Institute at the University of Oxford Mazar-i-Sharif
Mazar-i-Sharif
(Balkh) (in German) Explore Balkh
Balkh
with Google Earth on Global Heritage Network Indigenous Indian civilization prevailed in Balkh, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
till the second half of tenth century AD "Balkh". Islamic Cultural Heritage Database. Istanbul: Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture. Archived from the original on 2013-06-15.  ArchNet.org. "Balkh". Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: MIT School of Architecture and Planning. Archived from the original on 2011-09-26. 

v t e

Districts of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
by province

Badakhshan

Arghanj Khwa Argo Baharak Darayim Maimay Nusay Fayzabad Ishkashim Jurm Khash Khwahan Kishim Kohistan Kuf Ab Kuran Wa Munjan Raghistan Shahri Buzurg Shighnan Shekay Shuhada Tagab Tishkan Wakhan Wurduj Yaftali Sufla Yamgan Yawan Zebak

Badghis

Ab Kamari Jawand Muqur Murghab Qadis Qala i Naw

Baghlan

Andarab Baghlan Baghlani Jadid Burka Dahana i Ghuri Dih Salah Dushi Farang Wa Gharu Guzargahi Nur Khinjan Khost Wa Fereng Khwaja Hijran Nahrin Puli Hisar Puli Khumri Tala Wa Barfak

Balkh

Balkh Charbolak Charkint Chimtal Dawlatabad Dihdadi Kaldar Kholm Kishindih Marmul Mazar-e Sharif Nahri Shahi Sholgara Shortepa Zari

Bamyan

Bamyan Kahmard Panjab Sayghan Shibar Waras Yakawlang

Daykundi

Ishtarlay Kajran Khadir Kiti Miramor Nili Sangtakht Shahristan

Farah

Anar Dara Bakwa Bala Buluk Farah Gulistan Khaki Safed Lash Wa Juwayn Pur Chaman Pusht Rod Qala i Kah Shib Koh

Faryab

Almar Andkhoy Bilchiragh Dawlat Abad Ghormach Gurziwan Khani Chahar Bagh Khwaja Sabz Posh Kohistan Maymana Pashtun Kot Qaramqol Qaysar Qurghan Shirin Tagab

Ghazni

Ab Band Ajristan Andar Dih Yak Gelan Ghazni Giro Jaghori Jaghatu (Bahrami Shahid) Khogyani Khwaja Umari Malistan Muqur Nawa Nawur Qarabagh Rashidan Waghaz Zana Khan

Ghor

Chaghcharan Charsada Dawlat Yar Du Layna Lal Wa Sarjangal Pasaband Saghar Shahrak Taywara Tulak

Helmand

Baghran Dishu Garmsir Kajaki Khanashin Lashkargah Musa Qala Nad Ali Nahri Saraj Nawa-I-Barakzayi Nawzad Sangin Washir

Herat

Adraskan Chishti Sharif Farsi Ghoryan Gulran Guzara Herat Injil Karukh Kohsan Kushk Kushki Kuhna Obe Pashtun Zarghun Shindand Zinda Jan

Jowzjan

Aqcha Darzab Fayzabad Khamyab Khaniqa Khwaja Du Koh Mardyan Mingajik Qarqin Qush Tepa Shibirghan

Kabul

Bagrami Chahar Asyab Deh Sabz Farza Guldara Istalif Kabul Kalakan Khaki Jabbar Mir Bacha Kot Mussahi Paghman Qarabagh Shakardara Surobi

Kandahar

Arghandab Arghistan Daman Ghorak Kandahar Khakrez Maruf Maywand Miyanishin Nesh Panjwayi Reg Shah
Shah
Wali Kot Shorabak Spin Boldak Zhari

Kapisa

Alasay Hesa Awal Kohistan Hesa Duwum Kohistan Koh Band Mahmud Raqi Nijrab Tagab

Khost

Bak Gurbuz Zazi Maidan Khost (Matun) Mandozayi Musakhel Nadir Shah
Shah
Kot Qalandar Sabari Shamal Spera Tani Tirazayi

Kunar

Asadabad Bar Kunar Chapa Dara Chawkay Dangam Dara-I-Pech Ghaziabad Khas Kunar Marawara Narang Aw Badil Nari Nurgal Shaigal Aw Shiltan Sirkanay Wata Pur

Kunduz

Ali Abad Archi Chardara Imam Sahib Khan Abad Kunduz Qalay-I-Zal

Laghman

Alingar Alishing Dawlat Shah Mihtarlam Qarghayi

Logar

Azra Baraki Barak Charkh Kharwar Khoshi Mohammad Agha Puli Alam

Nangarhar

Achin Bati Kot Bihsud Chaparhar Darai Nur Dih Bala Dur Baba Goshta Hisarak Jalalabad Kama Khogyani Kot Kuz Kunar Lal Pur Momand Dara Nazyan Pachir Aw Agam Rodat Sherzad Shinwar Surkh Rod

Nimruz

Chahar Burjak Chakhansur Delaram Kang Khash Rod Zaranj

Nuristan

Bargi Matal Du Ab Kamdesh Mandol Nurgaram Paroon Wama Waygal

Paktia

Ahmadabad Tsamkani Dand Aw Patan Gardez Zazi Janikhel Lazha Ahmadkhel Sayid Karam Shwak Wuza Zadran Zurmat

Paktika

Barmal Dila Gayan Gomal Janikhel Mata Khan Nika Omna Sar Hawza Surobi Sharana Terwa Urgun Wazakhwa Wor Mamay Yahyakhel Yusufkhel Zarghun Shar Ziruk

Panjshir

Anaba Bazarak Darah Khenj Paryan Rokha Shotul

Parwan

Bagram Chaharikar Ghorband Jabul Saraj Kohi Safi Salang Sayed Khel Shekh Ali Shinwari Surkhi Parsa

Samangan

Aybak Darah Sof Feroz Nakhchir Hazarati Sultan Khuram Wa Sarbagh Ruyi Du Ab

Sar-e Pol

Balkhab Gosfandi Kohistanat Sancharak Sari Pul Sayyad Sozma Qala

Takhar

Baharak Bangi Chah Ab Chal Darqad Dashti Qala Farkhar Hazar Sumuch Ishkamish Kalafgan Khwaja Baha Wuddin Khwaja Ghar Namak Ab Rustaq Taluqan Warsaj Yangi Qala

Urozgan

Chora Deh Rawud Gizab Khas Urozgan Shahidi Hassas Tarinkot

Wardak

Chaki Wardak Day Mirdad Hisa-I-Awali Bihsud Jaghatu Jalrez Markazi Bihsud Maidan Shar Nirkh Saydabad

Zabul

Argahandab Atghar Dey Chopan Kakar Mizan Naw Bahar Qalat Shahjoy Shamulzayi Shinkay Tarnak Aw Jaldak

Coordinates: 36°46′23″N 66°52′25″E / 36.77306°N 66.87361°E / 36.773

.