Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Blue Mosque at Mazar-i-Sharif

The Shrine of Hazrat Ali, also known as the Blue Mosque, is located in the heart of Mazar-i-Sharif. It is one of the reputed burial places of Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in law of Prophet Muhammad.

It is very pretty and very blue.  We traveled to Mazar-i-Sharif to recce the airport for a security contract.  The Afghan Ministry of Transport were tendering a security contract for the regional hub airports of Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar.   I joined the trips to Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif simply to see something more of Afghanistan than Kabul and Helmand.

Both were good trips.  Mazar was the first (and at the time of writing last) place that I have seen a Leper, sitting outside the mosque in the street, missing fingers, nose, lips.  Quite grotesque.  Leprosy is alive in the mountains and towns of Northern Afghanistan, a medieval disease in a country that is still medieval in parts.

Afghans come to feed the doves in the grounds of the Blue Mosque.  Catching wild birds is something of a national pass time and it is interesting to see how tenderly they treat them.

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