Afghans celebrate selection of Ghazni as Capital of Islamic Culture

TEHRAN — The selection of the Afghan city, Ghazni, as the Capital of Islamic Culture was celebrated during a ceremony in Kabul on Saturday.

A number of officials from member states of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) attended the ceremony, the Persian service of IRNA reported.

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) had selected Kairouan in Tunisia, Tlemcen in Algeria and Ghazni in Afghanistan as the capitals of Islamic culture for 2009, 2011, and 2013.

Among the officials was Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hosseini.

“I feel great about the selection of Ghazni as the Capital of Islamic Culture,” Hosseini said in a press conference.

The city was home to many luminaries, poets, writers and scholars who made outstanding contributions to the culture of world and Islam,” he added.

“Due to the cultural affinities between the Iranian people and Afghans, the Iranians feel no separation between themselves and the Afghan people,” Hosseini stated.

The ECO Cultural Institute in Tehran held Ghazni Night on New Year’s Eve of 2013 to celebrate the selection of Ghazni as the Capital of Islamic Culture.

Afghan Minister of Information and Culture Sayed Makhdoom Raheen also attended the celebration.

“There is a sad difference between Ghazni and the two other cities (Kairouan and Tlemcen),” Raheen said.

“Many of its cultural works and sites are buried under the earth in Ghazni as a result of the many dreadful tragedies that have occurred over the past millennium in the city,” he added.

“The city has been whipped over the centuries. It is no more the city in which (the Persian poet) Farrukhi Sistani fell in love every day. The period of happiness, mirth and music described in the divans of (Persian) poets under (the Ghaznavid kings) Mahmud and Masud all denote a happy and luxurious life, and the rise of the Persian poetry and Islamic civilization during the period,” he stated.

“From the modern world’s point of view, the reputation of Ghazni is not for the great sultan (Mahmud) who conquered other countries. Idiocy is not a source of honor. Ghazni is important since it played a key role in the transfer of science. Polymath Al-Biruni found his way to India as result of a great king like Mahmud,” he added

Located about 140 kilometers south of Kabul, today Ghazni (also Ghazna, Ghaznin or Ghuznee) accommodates approximately 140,000 inhabitants.

The city used to be an important and prosperous junction on the commercial route between Iran and India.

The city was the capital of the Ghaznavid Empire, which lasted from the 960s until the last half of the 12th century. Sultan Mahmud (971-1030), the most prominent ruler of the dynasty, spread his rule from the current Azerbaijan over Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of northern India including major parts of today’s Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The sultan’s court attracted artists, writers and scientists. Among them were poet Ferdowsi, polymath Al-Biruni and many other Persian luminaries.



A view of the citadel of Ghazni in a painting by James Rattray (1818-1854)

Categories: Art, Asia

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