Ghazni (also known as Ghazna) is a town in eastern Afghanistan, in the mountainous region between Kabul and Qandahar. The modern city includes a fortified citadel and walled city, still inhabited, that date to medieval times or before.

The early history of Ghazni is not well known, but it must have held some local importance as early as the second century CE. Evidence for its importance during this time comes from the presence of large stupa excavated at Tepe Sardar, just southeast of the modern city. Inscriptions found on the foundations of this stupa name the Kushan king Kanishka, thought to have reigned during the late first or early second century CE. After a number of centuries of ambiguity, Ghazni rose to prominence during the tenth/fourth century AH as the center of the Ghaznavid Empire. For the following two centuries, the city saw the construction of numerous monuments, most famously the Minaret of Mas'ud III and the Minaret of Bahram Shah, towers of exquisite brickwork located to the northeast of the old city. In addition Mas'ud III built a palace in the same area to the northeast of the city. 

The Ghaznavids lost Ghazni in 1163/558 AH, after which the town became the capital of the Ghurid Dynasty. It remained a relatively active center until 1221/618 AH, when the Mongols sacked the city.  While never regaining the glory of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Ghazni remains occupied today as a provincial center. 


Bosworth, C.E., “G̲h̲azna”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. (Consulted March 18, 2020).
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