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City Guide : Mazar-e Sharif

The city of Mazar-e-Sharif, located in the northern part of Afghanistan, is also the capital of the Balkh province. Mazar-e-Sharif is situated on a strategic location where the border regions of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan intersect.  Another important residential area in this region, located approximately 74 km south of  the Amu Darya, is the city of Balkh -the same name as the province- that is very close and about 20 km northwest of Mazar-e-Sharif. 

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  • Tourist Attractions

    The Shrine of Hazrat Ali marks the center of the city. This public square, also shaped like a square, is one of the largest green areas at the same time. Balkh University can be seen on Martyr Masood Street that expands right to the east. If you take this street until its end, you arrive in Ferdowsi Square. Here, the street intersects with the branch of the Asian Highway that reaches the city. The next intersection is Kefayet Square. At this location; there is a quite magnificent monument that depicts the game of buzkashi, which is considered to be one of the traditional sports. The area that begins after Kefayet Square and reaches as far as the new campus of Balkh University, makes up the farthest point in the city. 

    If you start from the Shrine of Hazrat Ali and go westward, you arrive in Ghazanfar Square and Barakat Square in order. If you head to the left and south from Ghazanfar Square, you can see the green area called Bagh-e-Hozoor. Balkh Information and Culture Center is another location in this neighborhood. Bagh-e-Zehra, located north of the central region, is another natural area to see. You can find the hospital of the city, a little farther ahead.

    Mazar-e-Sharif In One Day
    The Shrine of Hazrat Ali, standing with its blue dome and all its glory, should be the first stop of your one-day tour. The spring festival Nowruz, which takes place in March, is the best time to visit Mazar-e-Sharif. You can follow the four gates, located in the main square that open to four sides of the city. Kefayet, Ghazanfar, Barakat, and Ferdowsi Squares are public squares you can see at one swoop.

    City Tours and Transportation
    Taking a taxi to the farthest place in the city costs approximately 30 Afg.
    Mazar-e-Sharif is the most important center of commerce in Northern Afghanistan. The city was connected to Uzbekistan by railway in 2011. Thanks to the railroad that ends near the airport, commercial commodities are distributed to the whole country. In addition to said commercial activities, the local economy runs on agriculture and small-scale petrol operations. 

    Nearby Locations
    You can go to Balkh with an approximately 30-minute-long drive. Let us point out that Balkh, one of the oldest settlements in the region, is the city where Mewlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi was born. Hodja Bahauddin Walad Madrasah located in Balkh, in which the house where the famous philosopher Mewlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi-or Mewlana Jalal ad-Din Balkhi as he is locally known- was born is located, is being renovated by Turkey.
  • Culture & Entertainment

    Museums, Public Squares, Historical Locations, Monuments
    The city gets its name from the tomb that is said to belong to  Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph of Islam. It is known that Hazrat Ali was martyred by assassination in the city of Kufa in 661 and buried there. However; according to local belief, followers of Hazrat Ali who feared that the enemy would seek revenge on his dead body, put him on a female camel and performed the burial on the spot where the camel grew tired and collapsed. 

    It is reported that this location was kept a secret until the Seljuk Sultan Sanjar uncovered it. Sultan Sanjar is also known as the person who had the shrine built in 1136.  The structure and tomb that were destroyed during the invasions of Genghis Khan, was rebuilt by the Timurid Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara in 1481. Although none of its 15th century adornments have survived to our time, the authentic beauty of the shrine was restored with true-to-the-original renovations. The tombs of Amir Dost Muhammad family members and khans such as Amir Sher Ali and Muhammad Akbar are also located on this campus.

    Mazar-e-Sharif is flooded with countless visitors especially during Nowruz which announces the coming of spring and the new year. It is believed that in this shrine, worth seeing with thousands of  doves flying around, colored doves turn into white with time as well.  Another interesting detail about the shrine, which is colored blue as the sky, is doubtlessly its mosaics. 

    Maulana Jalaluddin Cultural Park, Tashkurgan Palace, Governors Palace, and Mazar-e-Sharif Gate are monuments to see. Mazar-e-Sharif is one of the significant educational centers of the country. The Balkh University with 15 faculties to begin with, there are 5 colleges.

    Parks, Games, Events and Natural Areas
    Steppe climate reings in Mazar-e-Sharif. Summers are hot, while winters are quite harsh. Even during the time period between December and April, which is known as the time period with precipitation, it does not receive much precipitation. Let us point out that the temperature rises up to 40 degrees Celsius during the summer.

    The capital of buzkashi, the traditional sport that has been identified with Afghanistan, is definitely Mazar-e-Sharif. Buzkashi Stadium is the sole address where you can watch this game. Also in this respect, Mazar-e-Sharif Cricket Stadium is an important point of attraction in the city. If you happen to come across Mazar-e-Sharif on March 21st, the Shrine of Hazrat Ali -the center of the Nowruz celebrations- and its vicinity welcome you in a much more enchanting way. 
  • Food & Drink

    Meat, bread, and rice are among musts in the dishes of Mazar-e-Sharif. The symbolic taste of the cuisine is undoubtedly the “Afghan Pilaf.” There are various different ways of cooking the Afghan pilaf; with meat, chicken and vegetables. A special type of rice called meyni is used and quite varied pilafs are made on special occasions. Spices, fresh herbs, and yogurt definitely have a place on the table. Afghan bread and emerald pilaf with spinach are among dishes you should try.
  • Shopping

    Mazar-e-Sharif, which has lived in the shadow of the neighboring city of Balkh for a long time, became prominent when Balkh was vacated approximately in the middle of the 19th century because of an epidemic that erupted. Being located on main trade routes throughout history, Mazar-e-Sharif has a unique dynamism today as well.  The famous center Karakul, where traditional Turkmen carpets and high-quality cotton are sold, is one of the most important sources of that dynamism. Carpets and rugs that are handwoven are the most important touristic shopping items of the region. 

Ticket Sales Offices : Mazar-e Sharif

General Sales Agency City Office SKY Travel & Tours
Address Shadyan Street, South of Shrine, Mazar-i Sharif, Balkh, Afghanistan
Phone +93 (0) 729 48 48 48
E-Mail -
Work Hours

Weekdays 08:30 – 17:30

  • Mazar-e Sharif : Airport Information

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Mazar-e Sharif Info

  • Fri 37°C
  • Sat 36°C
  • Sun 36°C
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Monetary Unit : Afghanistan Afghani
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