Old Kandahar

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An 1881 photo showing the ruined Old Kandahar citadel of Shah Hussain Hotaki that was destroyed by the Afsharid forces of Nader Shah in 1738. This destroyed fortress is still standing today.
A miniature from Padshahnama depicting the surrender of the Shi'a Safavid in 1638 to the Mughal army of Shah Jahan commanded by Kilij Khan.

Old Kandahar (locally known as Zorr Shaar; Pashto: زوړ ښار‎, meaning "Old City") is a historical section of the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. Its foundation was laid out by Alexander the Great in 330 BC[1][2] and served as the local seat of power for many rulers in the last 2,000 years. It became part of many empires, including the Mauryans (322 BC–185 BC), Indo-Scythians (200 BC–400 AD), Sassanids, Arabs, Zunbils, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Timurids, Mughals, Safavids, Hotakis and others. It was one of the main cities of Arachosia, a historical region sitting between Greater Iran and the Indus Valley Civilization. The city has been a frequent target for conquest because of its strategic location in Southern Asia, controlling the main trade route linking the Indian subcontinent with the Middle East, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.[3]

The city was often fought over by the Persians and the Mughals, until it was destroyed by Nader Shah and his Afsharid forces in 1738 after defeating Shah Hussain Hotak, the last Hotaki ruler. After the destruction of this old city all the remaining inhabitants were relocated to a nearby area which became known as "Naderabad" for a short time, named after Nader Shah of Mashad in Khorasan. By 1750, Ahmad Shah Durrani had laid out the current city of Kandahar and turned it into the capital of his Durrani Empire.[4]

See also


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  2. Dupree, Nancy Hatch (1971) "Sites in Perspective (Chapter 3)" An Historical Guide To Afghanistan Afghan Tourist Organization, Kabul.]
  3. Mentioned in Bopearachchi, "Monnaies Greco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques", p52. Original text in paragraph 19 of Parthian stations
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