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Sightseeing in Mazar-i-Sharif - what to see. Complete travel guide

In the northern part of Afghanistan, tourists can visit Mazar-i-Sharif, a large city and the capital of Balkh province. The name of the settlement means “Tomb of the Prince” in the Tajik language. This is a beautiful and ancient city that is acclaimed as one of the sacred places of Shia Islam. While traveling in Afghanistan, tourists prefer to visit Mazar-i-Sharif and enjoy its calm and peaceful atmosphere. People in Mazar-i-Sharif have a steady and unhurried lifestyle. There is no place for urban stress here. For tourists, this means an opportunity to see local attractions comfortably. However, it is better not to visit the remote neighborhoods of the city alone.
According to local legends, Mazar-i-Sharif was founded at the beginning of the 12th century. The Seljuk sultan Ahmed Sanjar ordered to build a new city. Right from its establishment, Mazar-i-Sharif got the status of a sacred city because it was built on the site where Ali ibn Abi Talib, the holy person for all Islamic people, was buried. In the 20s of the 13th century, Genghis Khan attacked Mazar-i-Sharif with his army. He nearly destroyed the city, tortured and killed many people. The rebuilding of Mazar-i-Sharif started only in the 80s of the 15th century. This is when the city turned into a popular destination for Shia Islam pilgrims.
During the Soviet-Afghan War, which started in 1979 and lasted almost ten years, Mazar-i-Sharif became a military base for the Soviet Army. When the conflict ended, the city turned into the center of Afghanistan’s north region with General Abdul Rashid Dostum being its leader. He kept this position for nearly five years, but the Taliban movement occupied the city already in 1998. At the end of November 2001, a rebellion backed by the U.S. forces emerged in Mazar-i-Sharif. The Taliban faced the mujahidin and their allies and lost. Copyright
Tourists from all over the world arrive in this city to see the main attraction – the Blue Mosque. The building is a mausoleum built on the site where the relics of holy Ali ibn Abi Talib were placed. The ruler of Khorasan ordered to build the fabulous mosque in the 15th century. Why is the mosque called this way? As soon as you reach it, you will immediately understand the etymology of its name. The mosque has a blue color. The secret is in its peculiar design. The mosque is completely covered with turquoise-colored tiles that decorate not only the walls of the building but also its cupolas.
Nowadays, the Blue Mosque is one of the oldest and best-preserved historical monuments in Afghanistan. Restorative works are regular here, helping to maintain the gorgeous complex in good condition. Many elements of the artistic design are the result of hard work and efforts of art restorers. Only one element has remained from the early shrine that stood on the site of the Blue Mosque. This is a marble slab with an inscription saying “Ali, Lion of God”. The tomb of Ali is located in the inner yard. Gorgeous blue tiles cover all walls in this place. There are the remains of two holy people, namely, Sher Ali Khan and Akbar Khān, in the main yard of the mosque.
Do you like nature? The gorgeous nature of Afghanistan is one of the reasons why tourists arrive in this country. Lake Zorkul is a true treasure that attracts numerous tourists to the region where Afghanistan borders with Tajikistan. It takes a while to travel from Mazar-i-Sharif to Lake Zorkul, but the result is worth the effort. The name of the lake sounds poetic, and the surrounding area is a true gift of Mother Nature. In 2000, a nature reserve was established in the lake region. At that time, the reserve had an area of roughly twenty-five kilometers. The government protects the area and maintains a unique ecosystem. Lake Zorkul is the outflow location of the Pamir River. According to historical data, the British naval officer John Wood was the first European who visited the lake. This event took place in 1838. Earlier, the lake had another and no less beautiful name – Lake Victoria. In 1895, the border between the two countries – the Russian Empire and Afghani khanates – crossed the lake. Zorkul got its current name during the Soviet period. Later, many people in different countries have found out about the beautiful lake. The popularity of the lake region has been growing since then.
There is an eponymous airport at a distance of nine kilometers of Mazar-i-Sharif. It serves flights from Tehran, Kabul, and Istanbul. Upon arrival, tourists can get to the central part of Mazar-i-Sharif by taxi. You will reach your destination in just fifteen-twenty minutes. Some tourists prefer to fly to Termez Airport in Uzbekistan, which is located sixty-five kilometers from Mazar-i-Sharif. Termez Airport accommodates flights from Saint-Petersburg and Tashkent. After that, get on a bus or find a taxi to the Afghani city. When traveling from Kabul, tourists can use intercity buses.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Mazar-i-Sharif and surroundings

Sights around Mazar-i-Sharif from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'


From the series “The Oldest Inhabited Cities on the Planet”
The historic district of Bala Hissar is popular among fans of exciting excursions, as there are ruins of buildings of more than 3,000 years old. In addition to old fortification walls and the ruins of ancient buildings, you can see the remaining pieces of the legendary Buddhist monastery, which was built here in 630. In the 13th century, when Genghis Khan has conquered the city, much of the priceless buildings were destroyed, but the spirit of the historic old town remained the same. … Read further

Sightseeing in Afghanistan: things to see

Unique Buddhist landmarks, majestic mountains, old mosques, and beautiful parks surrounded by deserted areas – these are just a part of interesting peculiarities of Afghanistan and things that attract tourists to this country. There are no beaches and internationally famous hotels here. People visit this country to find peace of mind and enjoy new historic discoveries. The unique culture that was formed during a thousand years adds special charm to this country. … Open
Car rental on Rentals in Mazar-i-Sharif

Preferred to Open 9 New Hotels in 2022

In September 2022, the Sommerro hotel in Oslo will start operating in a carefully restored 1930s Art Deco building. This building is a true landmark of Frogner, a historic neighborhood of the Norwegian capital. A multi-million-dollar renovation carefully turned the largest preservation project in Norway into a modern hotel with 231 rooms, including 56 residences. Preferred will open five more hotels in 2022, namely, The Wall Street Hotel in New York, Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences on Singer Island (Florida, the US), TOA Hotel & Spa in Zanzibar, Pendry hotel in Washington, and Pendry Park City hotel in Utah. Read this


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Sightseeing in regions nearby Mazar-i-Sharif

All about Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with - find out the 'must see' things in Mazar-i-Sharif, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Mazar-i-Sharif in few days. - online travel reservation expert providing reliable car rental and hotel booking services. We feature more than 25.000 destinations with 12.000 rental offices and 200.000 hotels worldwide.
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