Citadel of Ghazni, seen from Tapa Sardar.
|Elevation||2,219 m (7,280 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+4:30 (AST)|
Ghazni (Dari : غزنی, Pashto : غزني), historically known as Ghaznin (غزنين) or Ghazna (غزنه) and also transliterated as Ghuznee, is a city in southeastern Afghanistan with a population of around 190,000 people. The city is strategically located along Highway 1, which has served as the main road between Kabul and Kandahar for thousands of years. Situated on a plateau at 2,219 metres (7,280 ft) above sea level, the city is 150 kilometres (93 mi) south of Kabul and is the capital of Ghazni Province.
Ghazni is the traditional homeland of the Ghilji Pashtuns, a significant Pashtun tribal confederation. Their stronghold was located in Qalati Ghilji on the Kandahar-Ghazni road. The Ghilji have played an integral role in the region as powerful soldiers for the Ghaznavid dynasty.
Ghazni Citadel, the Minarets of Ghazni, the Palace of Sultan Mas'ud III and several other cultural heritage sites have brought travellers and archeologists to the city for centuries. During the pre-Islamic period, the area was inhabited by various tribes who practiced different religions including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Zhunism.Arab Muslims introduced Islam to Ghazni in the 7th century and were followed in the 9th century by the Saffarids. Sabuktigin made Ghazni the capital of the Ghaznavid 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, which was followed by the Durrani Empire or modern Afghanistan. During the First Anglo-Afghan War in the 19th century, the fortifications of Ghazni were partially demolished by British Indian forces.
The city is currently being rebuilt by the Government of Afghanistan in remembrance of the Ghaznavid and Timurid era when it served as a major center of Islamic civilisation.The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have established bases and check-points to deal with the Taliban insurgency but in August 2018 the city became of the site of the Battle of Ghazni with the Taliban briefly occupying it and taking control of most of the surrounding area.
In 2013, ISESCO declared Ghazni the year's Islamic Capital of Culture.
|History of Afghanistan|
|Related historical names of the region|
The city was founded some time in antiquity as a small market town. It may be the Gazaca (Gázaca or Gāzaca) mentioned by Ptolemy,although he may have conflated it and the town of Ganzak (or Gazaka) in Iran.
In the 6th century BC, it was conquered by the Achaemenid king Cyrus II and incorporated into the Persian empire. The city was subsequently incorporated into the empire of Alexander the Great in 329 BC, and called Alexandria in Opiana. By the 7th century AD, the area was a major centre of Buddhism. In 644, the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited a city named Jaguda—which was almost certainly the contemporary name of the later Ghazni.
In 683 CE, Arab armies brought Islam to the region. Yaqub Saffari from Zaranj conquered the city in the late 9th century. The Saffarids reduced the formerly Lawik dynasty to a tributary status. In 962, the Turkic slave commander of the Samanid Empire, Alp-Tegin, attacked the city and besieged the Citadel of Ghazni for four months, wresting the city from Abu Bakr Lawik.Around 965, Abu Bakr Lawik recaptured Ghazni from Alp-Tegin's son, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim, forcing him to flee to Bukhara. However, this was not to last long because Abu Ishaq Ibrahim shortly returned to the town with Samanid aid, and took control of the town once again. For nearly two hundred years (977–1163), the city was the dazzling capital of the Ghaznavid Empire, which encompassed much of what is today Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Eastern Iran and Rajasthan. The Ghaznavids took Islam to India and returned with fabulous riches taken from Indian princes and temples. Although the city was sacked in 1151 by the Ghorid Ala'uddin, it became their secondary capital in 1173, and subsequently flourished once again. Between 1215 and 1221, Ghazni was ruled by the Khwarezmid Empire, during which time it was destroyed by the Mongol armies of Genghis Khan's son Ögedei 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 (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.
The noted Moroccan travelling scholar, Ibn Battuta, visiting Ghazni in 1333, wrote:
"We travelled thence to Parwan, where I met the amir Buruntayh. He treated me well and wrote to his representatives at Ghazna enjoining them to show me honour. We went on to the village of Charkh [Charikar], it being now summer, and from there to the town of Ghazna. This is the town of the famous warrior-sultan Mahmud ibn Sabuktagin, one of the greatest of rulers, who made frequent raids into India and captured cities and fortresses there. His grave is in this city and is surmounted by a hospice. The greater part of the town is in ruins and nothing but a fraction of it remains, though it was once a large city. It has an exceedingly cold climate, and the inhabitants move from it in the cold season to Qandahar, a large and prosperous town three nights journey from Ghazna, but I did not visit it."
Tamerlanes's grandson, Pir Muhammad bin Djinhangir, became the governor of Ghazni (along with Kabul and Kandahar) in 1401. Babur conquered the region in 1504 and personally thought that Ghazni was "a mean place" and pondered why any of the princes of the region would make it their seat of government. Ghazni stayed under Mughal control until 1738 when Iranian ruler Nader Shah invaded the area. After Nader Shah's death, Ghazni became part of the Durrani empire.
Ghazni City is famous for its Ghazni 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 (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. 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. 18-metre (59 ft) long Parinirvana (reclining) Buddha was excavated between the late 1960s and early 1970s. 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.Nearby, an
During the First Anglo-Afghan War, the city was captured by British forces on 23 July 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 (ALP) Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National Army (ANA). 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.
On 10 August 2018, the city was attacked by the Taliban during the Battle of Ghazni. Dozens of airstrikes were carried out in support of Afghan police and government forces and hundreds of Afghan soldiers, police, and Taliban insurgents were killed as well as dozens of civilians. In addition to the destruction and human suffering caused by the fighting, the Taliban also set fire to many buildings in the city.
On 18 May 2020, a suicide Humvee bomber affiliated with the Taliban killed nine Afghan intelligence personnel and injured 40 others at the National Directorate of Security (NDS) unit in Ghazni, also damaging the nearby Islamic Cultural Centre.
Ghazni is a trading and transit hub in central Afghanistan. Agriculture is the dominant land use at 28%.In terms of built-up land area, vacant plots (33%) slightly outweigh residential area (31%). Districts 3 and 4 also have large institutional areas. The city has four police districts (nahia) and covers a total land area of 3,330 hectares. The total number of dwellings in Ghazni city is 15,931.
Ghazni's climate is transitional between cold semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk) and warm-summer humid continental climate (Dsa). It has cold, snowy winters and warm, dry summers. Precipitation is low and mostly falls in winter (when it mostly falls as snow) and spring.
|Climate data for Ghazni|
|Record high °C (°F)||16.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||0.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−5.9|
|Average low °C (°F)||−10.6|
|Record low °C (°F)||−33.5|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||40.2|
|Average rainy days||1||2||7||9||6||1||3||2||0||1||2||1||35|
|Average snowy days||6||7||4||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||5||24|
|Average relative humidity (%)||68||72||64||55||43||36||43||39||35||42||52||60||51|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||175.3||174.8||227.6||258.6||314.3||346.2||353.2||341.8||324.5||293.9||256.4||194.6||3,261.2|
|Source: NOAA (1958–1983)|
The city of Ghazni's population surged from 143,379 in 2015to 270,000 in 2018 as refugees from violent areas fled to the city. In 2015, there were 15,931 dwellings in Ghazni city.
The population is multi-ethnic, with approximately 50% being Tajik, 25% Pashtun, 20% Hazara.
In April 2012, Ghazni Governor Musa Khan Akbarzada laid the foundation stone of the Ghazni Airport. The work began later that year and was supervised by the managing director of the Ghazni province Engineer Ahmad Wali Tawakuli.
The city is next to Afghanistan's main highway that runs between Kabul and Kandahar in the south. There are roads leading to Gardez and in the east and other nearby villages as well as to towns in Hazarajat in the northwest.
The city has a number of public schools. Jahan Maleeka School is an all-girls school with over 5,000 students and 150 teachers. Naswan Shaher Kohna School, another all-girls school, has over 3000 students.
Ghazni City is in an area of low rainfall. In 2007, one of the gates on a 50-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.
The Muslim conquests of Afghanistan began during the Muslim conquest of Persia as the Arab Muslims migrated eastwards to Khorasan, Sistan and Transoxiana. 15 years after the Battle of Nahāvand, they controlled all Sasanian domains except southern and eastern Afghanistan. Fuller Islamization wasn't achieved until the period between 10th and 12th centuries under Ghaznavid and Ghurid dynasty's rule who patronized Muslim religious institutions.
Gardez is the capital of the Paktia Province of Afghanistan. The population of the city was estimated to be ca. 10,000 in the 1979 census and was estimated to be 70,000 in 2008. The majority of the city's native population is Tajik. But recently, with the migration of Pashtun tribes from different parts of Paktia to this city, Pashtuns have taken over the majority of the population of this city. The city of Gardez is located at the junction between two important roads that cut through a huge alpine valley. Surrounded by the mountains and deserts of the Hindu Kush, which boil up from the valley floor to the north, east and west, it is the axis of commerce for a huge area of eastern Afghanistan and has been a strategic location for armies throughout the country's long history of conflict. Observation posts built by Alexander the Great are still crumbling on the hilltops just outside the city limits. The city of Gardez has a population of 70,641. It has 13 districts and a total land area of 6,174 hectares (23.84 sq mi). The total number of dwellings in this city is 7,849.
Ghazni is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in southeastern Afghanistan. The province contains 19 districts, encompassing over a thousand villages and roughly 1.3 million people, making it the 5th most populous province. The city of Ghazni serves as the capital. It lies on the important Kabul–Kandahar Highway, and has historically functioned as an important trade center. The Ghazni Airport is located next to the city of Ghazni and provides limited domestic flights to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.
Laghman is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the eastern part of the country. It has a population of about 502,148, which is multi-ethnic and mostly a rural society. The city of Mihtarlam serves as the capital of the province. In some historical texts the name is written as "Lamghan" or as "Lamghanat".
The Ghaznavid dynasty was a Persianate Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin, ruling, at its greatest extent, large parts of Iran, Afghanistan, much of Transoxiana and the northwest Indian subcontinent from 977 to 1186. The dynasty was founded by Sabuktigin upon his succession to the rule of Ghazna after the death of his father-in-law, Alp Tigin, who was an ex-general of the Samanid Empire from Balkh, north of the Hindu Kush in Greater Khorasan.
Abu Mansur Nasir al-Din Sabuktigin, also spelled as Sabuktagin, Sabuktakin, Sebüktegin and Sebük Tigin, was the founder of the Ghaznavid dynasty, ruling from 367 A.H/977 A.D to 387 A.H/997 A.D. In Turkic the name means beloved prince.
Mahmud of Ghazni or Mahmud Ghaznavi was the first independent ruler of the Turkic dynasty of Ghaznavids, ruling from 999 to 1030. At the time of his death, his kingdom had been transformed into an extensive military empire, which extended from northwestern Iran proper to the Punjab in the Indian subcontinent, Khwarazm in Transoxiana, and Makran.
The Samanid Empire was a Sunni Iranian empire from 819 to 999. The empire was centred in Khorasan and Transoxiana; at its greatest extent encompassing modern-day Afghanistan, large parts of Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and parts of Kazakhstan and Pakistan.
The Ghurids or Ghorids were a dynasty of Iranian origin from the Ghor region of present-day central Afghanistan, but the exact ethnic origin is uncertain. The dynasty converted to Sunni Islam from Buddhism, after the conquest of Ghor by the Ghaznavid sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in 1011. The dynasty overthrew the Ghaznavid Empire in 1186 when Sultan Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad of Ghor conquered the last Ghaznavid capital of Lahore.
Alp-Tegin, was a Turkic slave commander of the Samanid Empire, who would later become the semi-independent governor of Ghazna from 962 until his death in 963.
The Farighunids were an Iranian dynasty that ruled Guzgan in the late 9th, 10th and early 11th centuries. They were ultimately deposed by the ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire, Sultan Mahmud.
Abu Ali Lawik of the Lawik dynasty was the son of Abu Bakr Lawik, and also a brother-in-law of the Turk Shahi ruler of the region, Kabul Shah. He was invited by the people of Ghazni to overthrow Böritigin or Pirai and proceeded in alliance with the Shahi Rulers of the region in this venture.
'Yamini Turks had claimed their descent from Shahyar, the last of the Parthian ruler who was killed in 637AD in the battle of Cadesia. The family had migrated to Turkistan and after three generations had passed on as Turks. Their founder Sabuktgin had come into the service of Alptgin, a Samanid governor of Turkistan. The latter had captured Ghazni and settled there in 963AD. He raised Sabuktgin to the position of a general. After the death of Alptgin in 966 AD, Balktgin the commander of Turkish troops succeeded him who was later succeeded by Pirai a slave. The latter was a cruel king and the people of Zabul invited Abu Ali Lawik son of the last ruler of Zabul who in alliance with the Shahis of Udabhanda marched to recover Ghazni. On the way at Charkh, Sabuktgin defeated them and became a hero.
The Hindu Shahis was a Hindu dynasty that held sway over the Kabul Valley, Gandhara and western Punjab during the early medieval period in the Indian Subcontinent. Details regarding past rulers have been assembled from chronicles, coins and stone inscriptions by researchers as no consolidated account of their history has become available.
Abuʾl-Ḥasan al-Qāsim Aḥmad ibn Ḥasan Maymandī, better known as Ahmad Maymandi, and also known by his honorific title of Shams al-Kufat, was a Persian vizier of the Ghaznavid Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni and the latter's son Mas'ud I of Ghazni.
Abd al-Razzaq Maymandi was a Persian vizier of the Ghaznavid Sultan Maw'dud Ghaznavi and Abd al-Rashid.
Böritigin or Böri, also known as Pirai, was a Turkic officer, who served as the Samanid governor of Ghazna from 974/975 to 977.
Abu Bakr Lawik was a ruler of Ghazna from the Lawik dynasty. He was most likely a vassal of the Samanid Empire. In 962, the Turkic slave commander Alp-Tegin captured Ghazna after besieging the Citadel of Ghazni for four months. However, a few years later, Lawik managed to re-capture the town from Abu Ishaq Ibrahim, the son and successor of Alp-Tegin. This was not to last long; Abu Ishaq Ibrahim shortly returned to the town with Samanid aid, and took control of the town once again. Abu Bakr Lawik is thereafter no longer mentioned; he died before 977, the year that Ghaznavid control was established in Ghazna.
Ghazni is a city in southeastern Afghanistan, which served as the capital of the Ghaznavid Empire from 977 to 1163.
The Citadel of Ghazni is a large medieval fortress located in Ghazni city, east-central Afghanistan. It was built in the 13th century surrounding the Ghazni town to form a walled city. The 45 metre high citadel dominates the skyline.
The Lawīk dynasty or Lōyak dynasty was based in Ghazni and Gardez, present-day Afghanistan. The Lawik were closely related to the Turk Shahi dynasty.
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