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Ghazni

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General Info

Ghazni is a city in Afghanistan with a population of about 141,000 people. It is located in the central east part of the country. Situated on a plateau at 7,280 feet above sea level, the city or town serves as the capital of Ghazni Province.. It is linked by a highway with Kandahar to the southwest, Kabul to the northeast, Gardez and Khost to the east. The foundation stone of the Ghazni International Airport was laid in April 2012 which will be operational in 2013.. As with other cities in Afghanistan, Ghazni is very old and has witnessed many military invasions. During the pre Islamic period, the area was inhabited by various tribes who practiced different religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism..

Arab Muslims introduced Islam to Ghazni in the 7th century, they were followed by the 9th century Islamic conquest of the Saffarids from Zarang in the west. Sabuktigin made Ghazni the capital of the Ghazanvid Empire in the 10th century.. The city was destroyed by one of the Ghurid rulers but later rebuilt. It fell to a number of regional powers, including the Timurids and the Delhi Sultanate, until it became part of the Hotaki dynasty followed by the Durrani Empire or modern Afghanistan.. During the First Anglo Afghan War in the 19th century, Ghazni was partially destroyed by British Indian forces. The city is currently being rebuilt by the Government of Afghanistan in order to revive the Ghaznavid and Timurid era when it served as a major center of Islamic civilisation..

The Afghan National Security Forces have established bases and check points to deal with Taliban insurgency..

What To See

Thousand year old minarets to the North of the city.. Qalai Pasar, a village in Ghazni and an amazing place to go for picnic.. Mausoleum of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni.

What To See

Thousand year old minarets to the North of the city.. Qalai Pasar, a village in Ghazni and an amazing place to go for picnic.. Mausoleum of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni.

How To Get In

The main road (Highway 1) from Kabul to Kandahar in the south passes through Ghazni. It is about a two hour drive from Kabul. There are also roads leading to Gardez and in the east and other nearby villages as well as to various towns in Hazarajat in the north.. Ghazni International Airport is being constructed and is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2013..

What To Eat

The Mullakhail Tribe dishes that are said to be delicious are available around the urban and rural areas especially at Chargalo, Khanao khaili and Pirikhail o kallia. The Perkhail tribal cuisine " Roash " which non locals call " Namkin " can to be found in both city restaurants as well as in the outlying areas.. Some of the finest mutton in the country is raised around Ajristan and is a mainstay of local cuisine. The Mulla khail tribal dish, " Landhi ", is made of a whole lamb which is dried and kept fresh during the cold winters..

" Khadi Kebab " is a lamb barbecue dish while " Sajji " (leg of lamb) and " Pulao " are other local dishes. Small hotels located along Sangar provide accommodation for tourists..

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How To Get In

The main road (Highway 1) from Kabul to Kandahar in the south passes through Ghazni. It is about a two hour drive from Kabul. There are also roads leading to Gardez and in the east and other nearby villages as well as to various towns in Hazarajat in the north.. Ghazni International Airport is being constructed and is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2013..

What To Eat

The Mullakhail Tribe dishes that are said to be delicious are available around the urban and rural areas especially at Chargalo, Khanao khaili and Pirikhail o kallia. The Perkhail tribal cuisine " Roash " which non locals call " Namkin " can to be found in both city restaurants as well as in the outlying areas.. Some of the finest mutton in the country is raised around Ajristan and is a mainstay of local cuisine. The Mulla khail tribal dish, " Landhi ", is made of a whole lamb which is dried and kept fresh during the cold winters..

" Khadi Kebab " is a lamb barbecue dish while " Sajji " (leg of lamb) and " Pulao " are other local dishes. Small hotels located along Sangar provide accommodation for tourists..

History

Ghazni was founded sometime in antiquity as a small market town and is mentioned by Ptolemy. In the 6th century BC, the city was conquered by the Achaemenid king, Cyrus II, and incorporated into the Persian empire.. Was subsequently incorporated into the empire of Alexander the Great in 329 BC and called Alexandria in Opiana.. Ghazni was a thriving Buddhist centre up until the 7th century. In 683 AD, Arab armies brought Islam to the region but many refused to accept the new religion. Yaqub Saffari from Zaranj conquered the city in the late 9th century..

It later became the dazzling capital of the Ghaznavid Empire, which encompassed much of northern India, Persia and Central Asia. 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 Ala'uddin, it soon became their secondary capital in 1173, and subsequently flourished once again..

Between 12151221, Ghazni was managed by the Khwarezmid Empire, during which time it was destroyed by the Mongol armies of Genghis Khan, led by his son gedei Khan.. In the first decades of the 11th century, Ghazni was the most important centre of Persian literature. This was the result of the cultural policy of the Sultan Mahmud, who assembled a circle of scholars, philosophers, and poets around his throne in support of his claim to royal status in Iran.. The noted Moroccan travelling scholar, Ibn Battuta, visiting Ghazni in 1333 wrote.

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 built on a stellar plan. They date from the middle of the twelfth century and are the surviving elements of the mosque 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 located in Ghazni City is that of Sultan Mahmud. 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 high and 365 m 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 Afghanistans 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..

By the time the Ghurids had finalized the Ghaznavid removal from Ghazni, the city was a cultural center of the eastern Islamic world.. 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 Buddha 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, the city was stormed and taken over by the British forces on July 23, 1839 in the Battle of Ghazni. The Civil war in Afghanistan and the continued conflict between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance 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..

After the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the United States armed forces built a base in Ghazni. They have been involved in rebuilding projects and protecting the local population against Taliban insurgents. In the meantime, they are also training the Afghan Local Police Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army.. In 2010, the United States established the Lincoln Learning Center in Ghazni. The 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..

Climate

Ghazni has a cold semi arid climate. Like other high altitude cities of eastern and central Afghanistan, it has cold winters and warm summers. Precipitation is low and mostly falls in winter and spring..

Demography

The population of Ghazni is around 157,600. It is a multi ethnic society, with approximately 50 being Tajik, 25 Pashtun, and 25 Hazara. There may also be small number of Sikhs and Hindus..

Infrastructure

In April 2012, Ghazni Governor Musa Khan Akbarzada laid the foundation stone of the Ghazni Airport.. The city sits next to Afghanistan's main highway that runs between Kabul and Kandahar in the south. There are also roads leading to Gardez and in the east and other nearby villages as well as to various towns in Hazarajat in the north.. The city has a number of public schools. Jahan Maleeka School, which is an all girl school and has over 5,000 students and 150 teachers. Naswan Shaher Kohna School is another all girls school and has over 3000 students..

In May 2010, the U.S. government established the Lincoln Learning Center which, 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.. 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 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..