Balkh, the 15th oldest city in the world

by Wadsam | October 1, 2014 7:33 am

According to Telegraph[1], Balkh is the fifteenth oldest city in the world.

What is now northern Afghanistan, Balkh was an ancient city and center of Zoroastrianism.

The ancient city of Balkh was renamed Bactra under the Greek, giving its name to Bactria. Balkh is considered to be the first city to which the Indo-Iranian tribes moved from North of Amu Darya, between 2000-1500BC. Some scholars believe it was from Balkh that different waves of Indo-Iranians spread to north-east Iran and Seistan region, where they became today’s Persians, Tajik-Persian, Pashtuns and Baloch people of the region.

In succeeding centuries the city fell to various nomadic invaders, including the Turks and Kushāns, until it was decisively taken by the Arabs in the 8th century.The Arabs had described Balkh as the “Mother of Cities” due to its antiquity. The Arab invaded Balkh in 645 AD.

Balkh then became the capital of Khorāsān; it enlarged greatly in size until under the ʿAbbāsids and Sāmānids its fame as a capital and centre of learning earned it the title of “mother of cities.” Balkh was completely destroyed by the Mongols under Genghis Khan in 1220. Thereafter it lay in ruins until, after its capture by Timur, it was rebuilt early in the 15th century.

Balkh was incorporated into Afghanistan in 1850. The Modern Balkh is a center of the cotton industry, of the skins known commonly as the Karakul, and for agricultural produce like almonds and melons.

Endnotes:
  1. Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/middleeast/11105676/The-worlds-20-oldest-cities.html?frame=3043203

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