Zentralasien mit Seidenstraße
central Asia with silk road

Balch (also Balkh, Persian بلخ) is simultaneous a city in the province Balch in the north of Afghanistan and a suburb of Masar e Scharif, the largest city of north Afghanistan, and the most important barrier travel place of the country. Balch was renamed under the rule of the Mohammedsai to honours of the Afghan national hero Wazir Akbar Khan in Wazirabad. Number of inhabitants: 7.242 (census 1979) and 11,300 (estimation 2003), mainly Tadschiken and Usbeken.

base data

  • northern ones of width: 36° 45 ' 29 ''
  • eastern length: 66° 53 ' 56 ''


Balch belonged to the oldest settlements of central Asia and is a cradle of the Iranian civilization. In the antique one under the name Zariastes (griech.: Ζαρίασπα), late Baktra (griech.: Βακτρα) admits, was it the capital of the legendary Baktrien. Here and worked the prophet Zarathustra , the founder of the Zoroastrismus lived. In Baktra the silk road met another commercial route, which led in northwest direction the run of the Oxus following to the Kaspi sea, as well as in southeast direction over the Khyberpass to front India.

Around the year 500 v. Chr. Baktrien was conquered by the Persern and incorporated the Perserreich. Up to the conquest of Persia by Alexander the large one Baktrien remained one the most important Satrapien of the Achämeniden. Dareios II. was even son of a baktrischen nut/mother; after death Dareios III. the governor von Bactra, was proclaimed Bessos, to the new ruler.

Under the rule of the Seleukiden Balch was almost exclusively a Greek colony. Under the influence of the Buddhismus here a fascinating Greek buddhistische mix culture developed. In the year 2001 the Buddha-Statuen of Bamiyan, destroyed by the Taliban , come of from this culture.

Later Bactra under the Sassaniden was again part of a united Perserreichs, before the city was conquered and islamized by the Arabs.

In the Middle Ages Balch was a capital (from the city coming) of the Samaniden and developed to a center of the Persian culture and literature. After the case of the Samaniden it was alternating under the rule of the Ghaznawiden, Ghuriden, Seldschuken and the Khwarizm Schahs, before the city was conquered by the Mongols and destroyed perfectly. After the reconstruction Balch was conquered by Timur e long, and developed under its descendant, the Timuriden, to the most important cities Khorassans.

End 18. Century became the city of the Afghans, under which guidance incorporates Ahmad Shah dry anise, conquered and the again-created Afghanistan. Afterwards Balch turned out for expanding Russia under the rule , before the city in the middle 19. Century - in run the Great Game and on it which are based contracts between European colonial powers Russia and Great Britain - finally Afghanistan was awarded.

Famous sons of the city were the Sufi (Islamic Mystiker) and poet Dschalal ad-DIN Rumi and the physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna). The most well-known Dichterin of the city was Râbia e Balkhi.

Web on the left of

Balch Mazar i Sharif

coordinates: 36° 45 ′ 29 " n. Break, 66° 53 ′ 56 " o. L.


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