Ghazni

Ghazni

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For the Province of Ghazni see Ghazni Province
Ghazni Province
Ghazni is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. Babur records in his Babur-Nama that Ghazni is also known as Zabulistan It is in the east of the country. Its capital is Ghazni City...



Ghazni (Pashto/ - Ġaznī; historically known as غزنین / Ġaznīn and غزنه / Ġazna) is a city in central-east Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 with a population of about 141,000 people. Situated on a plateau at 7,280 feet (2,219 m) above sea level, the city is considered more like a town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 by international standard and serves as the capital of Ghazni Province
Ghazni Province
Ghazni is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. Babur records in his Babur-Nama that Ghazni is also known as Zabulistan It is in the east of the country. Its capital is Ghazni City...

. It is linked by a highway with Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 to the south-west, Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 to the northeast and Gardez to the east.

Just like other cities of Afghanistan, Ghazni is very old and has witnessed many military invasions. In pre-Islamic
Pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan
Archaeological exploration of the pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan began in Afghanistan in earnest after World War II and proceeded until the late 1970s when the nation was invaded by the Soviet Union. Archaeologists and historians suggest that humans were living in Afghanistan at least 50,000...

 days, the area was inhabitated by Buddhists and Hindus until the Saffarids
Saffarid dynasty
The Saffarids or the Saffarid dynasty was a Persian empire which ruled in Sistan , a historical region in southeastern Iran, southwestern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan...

 from Zarang in the east came to spread Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 in the 9th century. Sabuktigin made it the capital of the Ghaznvid Empire in the 10th century. It was later destroyed by the Ghurids, when one of its rulers completey burned the city to the ground. During the First Anglo-Afghan War
First Anglo-Afghan War
The First Anglo-Afghan War was fought between British India and Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842. It was one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game, the 19th century competition for power and influence in Central Asia between the United Kingdom and Russia, and also marked one of the worst...

 in the 19th century, it was again destroyed by the British-Indian
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 forces. The city is currently being rebuilt by the NATO states, mainly by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

More than 70 percent of Ghazni population are Persian-speaking
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and ca. 25 percent speak Pashto.

History




Ghazni was founded sometime in antiquity
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

 as a small market-town and is mentioned by Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

. In the 6th century BC, the city was conquered by the Achaemenid king, Cyrus II, and incorporated into the Persian empire.

Ghazni was a thriving Buddhist centre up until the 7th century. In 683 AD, Arab armies
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 brought Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 to the region but many refused to accept the new religion. Yaqub Saffari
Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar
Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar or Ya'qub-i Laith Saffari was the founder of the Saffarid dynasty in Sistan, with its capital at Zaranj . He ruled territories that are now in Iran and Afghanistan, as well as portions of West Pakistan...

 from Zaranj
Zaranj
Zaranj or Zarang is a border town in south-western Afghanistan, with a population of approximately 49,851 people as of 2004. It is the capital of Nimruz province and is situated next to Milak, Iran. It is linked by highways with Lashkar Gah to the east, Farah to the north and Zabol in Iran to the...

 conquered the city in the late 9th century. It later became the dazzling capital of the Ghaznavid Empire
Ghaznavid Empire
The Ghaznavids were a Persianate Muslim dynasty of Turkic slave origin which existed from 975 to 1187 and ruled much of Persia, Transoxania, and the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. The Ghaznavid state was centered in Ghazni, a city in modern-day Afghanistan...

, which encompassed much of northern India, Persia and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. Many iconoclastic campaigns were launched from Ghazni into India, resulting in the large scale destruction of ancient temples, libraries and palaces. The Ghaznavids took Islam to India and returned with fabulous riches taken from both Indian princes and temples. Although the city was sacked in 1151 by the Ghorid
Ghurids
The Ghurids or Ghorids were a medieval Muslim dynasty of Iranian origin that ruled during the 12th and 13th centuries in Khorasan. At its zenith, their empire, centred at Ghōr , stretched over an area that included the whole of modern Afghanistan, the eastern parts of Iran and the northern section...

 Ala'uddin, it soon became their secondary capital in 1173, and subsequently flourished once again. Between 1215–1221, Ghazni was managed by the Khwarezmid Empire, during which time it was destroyed by the Mongol armies
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

, led by his son Ögedei Khan
Ögedei Khan
Ögedei Khan, born Ögedei was the third son of Genghis Khan and second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire by succeeding his father...

.

In the first decades of the 11th century, Ghazni was the most important centre of Persian literature
Persian literature
Persian literature spans two-and-a-half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has historically been the national language...

. This was the result of the cultural policy of the Sultan Mahmud
Sultan Mahmud
Sultan Mahmud may refer to:*Mahmud I , Sultan of the Ottoman Empire*Mahmud II , Sultan of the Ottoman Empire*Mahmud of Ghazni , Sultan of Persia in the 11th century...

 (reigned 998–1030), who assembled a circle of scholars, philosophers, and poets around his throne in support of his claim to royal status in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

The famous Moroccan
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 travelling scholar, Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta , or simply Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad–Din , was a Muslim Moroccan Berber explorer, known for his extensive travels published in the Rihla...

, visiting Ghazni in 1333 writes:

Contemporary visitors and residents in Ghazni wrote with wonder of the ornateness of the buildings, the great libraries, the sumptuousness of the court ceremonies and of the wealth of precious objects owned by Ghazni's citizens. Ghazni City is famous for its minarets
Minarets
Minarets may refer to:*Minarets, an architectural feature of Islamic mosques*Minarets, California, a former town in California*Minarets , mountain peaks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California*Minarets , a song by Dave Matthews...

 built on a stellar plan. They date from the middle of the twelfth century and are the surviving elements of the mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 of Bahramshah. Their sides are decorated with intricate geometric patterns. Some of the upper sections of the minarets have been damaged or destroyed. The most important mausoleum
Mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

 located in Ghazni City is that of Sultan Mahmud
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni , actually ', was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty who ruled from 997 until his death in 1030 in the eastern Iranian lands. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazni into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Iran,...

. Others include the Tombs of poets and scientists, such as the Tomb of Al Biruni. The only ruins in Old Ghazni retaining a semblance of architectural form are two towers, about 43 m (140 ft) high and 365 m (1,200 ft) apart. According to inscriptions, the towers were constructed by Mahmud of Ghazni and his son. For more than eight centuries the “Towers of Victory” monuments to Afghanistan’s greatest empire have survived wars and invasions, the two toffee-colored minarets, adorned with terra-cotta tiles were raised in the early 12th century as monuments to the victories of the Afghan armies that built the empire.
The Buddhist site at Ghazni is known as Tapar Sardar and consists of a stupa on a hilltop, surrounded by a row of smaller stupas. Nearby, an 18 metre long Parinirvana
Parinirvana
In Buddhism, parinirvana is the final nirvana, which occurs upon the death of the body of someone who has attained complete awakening...

 (reclining) Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 was excavated in the late 'sixties and early 'seventies. It is believed to have been built in the 8th Century AD as part of a monastery complex. In the 1980s, a mud brick shelter was created to protect the sculpture, but the wood supports were stolen for firewood and the shelter partially collapsed. In 2001, the Taliban blew the Buddha up, believing it to be idolatrous.

During the First Anglo-Afghan War
First Anglo-Afghan War
The First Anglo-Afghan War was fought between British India and Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842. It was one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game, the 19th century competition for power and influence in Central Asia between the United Kingdom and Russia, and also marked one of the worst...

, the city was stormed and taken over by the British forces on July 23, 1839 in the Battle of Ghazni
Battle of Ghazni
The Battle of Ghazni took place in city of Ghazni in central Afghanistan on July 23, 1839 during the First Anglo-Afghan War.-Prelude:...

. The Civil war in Afghanistan
Civil war in Afghanistan
The Afghan civil war began when the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan took power in a military coup, known as the Saur Revolution, on 27 April 1978. Most of Afghanistan subsequently experienced uprisings against the unpopular Marxist-Leninist PDPA government. The Soviet Union...

 and the continued conflict between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance
United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan
The United Islamic Front , known in the West and Pakistan as the Northern Alliance, was a military-political umbrella organization created by the Islamic State of Afghanistan in 1996 under the leadership of Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud...

 during the 1990s put the relics of Ghazni in jeopardy. Ghazni's strategic position, both economically and militarily, assured its revival, albeit without its dazzling former grandeur. Through the centuries the city has figured prominently as the all-important key to the possession of Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

.

After the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the United States armed forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 built a base in Ghazni. They have been involved in rebuilding projects and protecting the local population against Taliban insurgents
Taliban insurgency
The Taliban insurgency took root shortly after the group's fall from power following the 2001 war in Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to attack Afghan, U.S., and other ISAF troops and many terrorist incidents attributable to them have been registered. The war has also spread over the southern and...

. In the meantime, they are also training the local Afghan National Police
Afghan National Police
The Afghan National Police - ANP - is the primary national police force in Afghanistan. It serves as a single law enforcement agency all across the country. The Afghan police force was first created with the establishment of the Afghan nation in the early 18th century...

 and Afghan National Army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 forces. In 2010, the United States established a Lincoln Learning Center in Ghazni. Lincoln Learning Centers in Afghanistan serve as programming platforms offering English language classes, library facilities, programming venues, Internet connectivity, educational and other counseling services. A goal of the program is to reach at least 4,000 Afghan citizens per month per location.

Education


The city has a number of public schools. In May 2010, the U.S. government established Lincoln Learning Center. It is much like U.S. public libraries, which provides free access to information about the United States via multi-media, book collections, the Internet and programming for the general public.

Resources


Ghazni City is located in an area of extreme drought. In 2007, one of the gates on a fifty-year-old dam on the Jikhai River
Jikhai River
The Jikhai River is a river in Ghazni Province, central Afghanistan, originating in Nawur District and crossing the Ajristan valley. It is the only source of water available to the small number of inhabitants as the area is affected by a severe drought...

 broke, bringing up concerns among the inhabitants of Ghazni city about the water supply. The dam serves as a good source of irrigation water to Ghazni City and the surrounding agricultural areas. Nearby rivers have a history of flooding and causing severe damage and death, though efforts have begun to remedy this.

Ethnography and notable people


The population of the city is multi-ethnic
Multiethnic society
A multiethnic society is one with members belonging to more than one ethnic group, in contrast to societies which are ethnically homogenous. In practice, virtually all contemporary national societies are multiethnic...

, with approximately 60% Tajiks, 20% Hazaras, 15% Pashtuns
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 , and 5% Hindus.

Notables from Ghazni

  • Sadiq Ali Khan Tanoli (sons named Feroz Khan
    Feroz Khan
    Feroz Khan was an Indian actor, film editor, producer and director in the Hindi film industry...

    , Sanjay Khan
    Sanjay Khan
    -Career:Khan made his debut in the 1964 Chetan Anand film "Haqeeqat" followed by the Rajshri film Dosti. In the 1960s and 1970s Khan starred in the movies Dus Lakh, Ek Phool Do Mali and Intaqam. He also acted opposite his brother Feroz in three films Upaasna , Mela and Nagin...

    , Akbar Khan (director)
    Akbar Khan (director)
    Akbar Khan is an Indian film actor, screenwriter, producer and director of Pashtun origin. He is the youngest brother of the Indian actor, producer, editor and director, Feroz Khan and Abbas Khan popularly known as Sanjay Khan.- External links :* *...

    , Indian film actors,
  • Hajweri Ghaznawi
  • Mahmud of Ghazni
    Mahmud of Ghazni
    Mahmud of Ghazni , actually ', was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty who ruled from 997 until his death in 1030 in the eastern Iranian lands. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazni into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Iran,...

  • Sanai
    Sanai
    Hakim Abul-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam Sanā'ī Ghaznavi was a Afghan Sufi poet who lived in Ghazna, in what is now Afghanistan between the 11th century and the 12th century. Some people spell his name as Sanayee. He died around 1131.-Life:...

  • Hassan Ghaznavi
    Hassan Ghaznavi
    Ashrafuddin Abu Muhammad Hasan ibn Muhammad Husayni Ghaznavi known as Ashraf was a 12th century Persian poet.Originating from Ghazna now in Afghanistan, he served mostly under Yamin ud-Dawlah Bahram Shah of the Ghaznavid dynasty...

  • Mullah Faiz Mohammad Katib
    Faiz Mohammad Katib Hazara
    Faiz Mohammad Katib son of Saeed Mohammad b. Khudydad was born in 1279 , in Zard Sang village of Qarabagh district, Ghazni Province of Afghanistan, and died in Kabul in 1931. He was an ethnic Hazara and was of Mohammad Khuwaja clan. He was Afghan court chronicler, a skilled calligrapher and...

  • Farrukhi Sistani
    Farrukhi Sistani
    Abul Hasan Ali ibn Julugh Farrukhi Sistani was a 10th- and 11th-century royal poet of Ghaznavids.As an ethnic Persian, he was one of the brightest masters of the panegyric school of poetry in the court of Mahmud of Ghazni...

    , Manuchehri Damaghani, Abul-fazl Bayhaqi (royal poets and writers who lived during the Ghaznavids period)

Points of interest

  • Citadel

  • Minarets of Ghazni

  • Palace of Sultan Mas'ud III

  • Tomb of Sebuktigin
    Sebük Tigin
    Abu Mansur Sabuktigin , also spelled as Sabuktagin, Sabuktakin, Sebüktegin and Sebük Tigin, is generally regarded by historians as the founder of the Ghaznavid Empire...


  • Mausoleum of Sultan Mahmud
    Mahmud of Ghazni
    Mahmud of Ghazni , actually ', was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty who ruled from 997 until his death in 1030 in the eastern Iranian lands. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazni into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Iran,...


  • Mausoleum of Sanai
    Sanai
    Hakim Abul-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam Sanā'ī Ghaznavi was a Afghan Sufi poet who lived in Ghazna, in what is now Afghanistan between the 11th century and the 12th century. Some people spell his name as Sanayee. He died around 1131.-Life:...


  • Museum of Islamic Art

  • Tapa Sardar Excavations

External links