MAZAR-I-SHARIF, a town of Afghanistan, the capital of the province of Afghan Turkestan. Owing to the importance of the military cantonment of Takhtapul, and its religious sanctity, it has long ago supplanted the more ancient capital of Balkh. It is situated in a malarious, almost desert plain, 9 m. E. of Balkh, and 30 m. S. of the Pata Kesar ferry on the Oxus river. In this neighbourhood is concentrated most of the Afghan army north of the Hindu Kush mountains, the fortified cantonment of Dehdadi having been completed by Sirdar Ghulam Ali Khan and incorporated with Mazar. Mazar-i-Sharif also contains a celebrated mosque, from which the town takes its name. It is a huge ornate building with minarets and a lofty cupola faced with shining blue tiles. It was built by Sultan Ali Mirza about A.D. 1420, and is held in great veneration by all Mussulmans, and especially by Shiites, because it is supposed to be the tomb of Ah', the son-in-law of Mahomet.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)