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Cheap flights to Paris from Mazār-i-Sharīf

Mazār-i-Sharīf is the fourth-largest city of Afghanistan, with a 2015 UN–Habitat population estimate 427,600. It is the capital of Balkh province and is linked by highways with Kunduz in the east, Kabul in the southeast, Herat in the west and Termez in Uzbekistan in the north. It is about 55 km (34 mi) from the Uzbek border. The city also serves as one of the many tourist attractions because of its famous shrines as well as the Islamic and Hellenistic archeological sites. The ancient city of Balkh is also nearby.

The name Mazar-i-Sharif means “Tomb of the Prince”, a reference to the large, blue-tiled sanctuary and mosque in the center of the city known as the Shrine of Ali or the Blue Mosque. Some people believe that the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, is at this mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, after Ali’s remains were transferred to Mazar-i-Sharif as per request of Ja’far as-Sadiq. This is however rejected by other Muslims, as the majority believe he is buried in Najaf, Iraq.

The region around Mazar-i-Sharif has been historically part of Greater Khorasan and was controlled by the Tahirids followed by the Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Ilkhanates, Timurids, and Khanate of Bukhara until the mid-18th century when it became part of the Durrani Empire after a friendship treaty was signed between emirs Murad Beg and Ahmad Shah Durrani. Mazar-i-Sharif is also known for the famous Afghan song Bia ke berem ba Mazar (Come let’s go to Mazar) by Sarban.

Mazar-i-Sharif is the regional hub of northern Afghanistan, located in close proximity to both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It is also home to an international airport. It has the highest percentage of built-up land (91%) of all the Afghan provincial capitals, and it has additional built-up area extending beyond the municipal boundary but forming a part of the larger urban area. It is also the lowest-lying major city in the country, about 357 metres (1,171 ft) above sea level. The city was spared of the devastation that occurred in the country’s other large cities during the Soviet–Afghan War and subsequent civil war, and is today regarded one of the safest cities in the country.

 

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