Why Ghazni is the Afghan Capital of Islamic Culture

Last week, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) officially named Ghazni as Afghanistan’s capital of Islamic culture and civilization.

Ghazni, the capital city of a province with the same name, is located in the southwest of the Afghan capital Kabul, connecting the capital to southern and western provinces. The city as the capital of “Khorasan” (Afghanistan’s former name), was once the main center of poets, scholars and artists.

Kings of the Ghaznavid dynasty used to encourage elites on literature and arts not only from their territory, but also from the regional countries. This helped Ghazni to get a good chance for becoming one of the most popular cities in Islamic world beside Mecca, Medina, Isfahan, Baghdad and Cairo.

The city has contained hundreds of monuments, mosques and the graves of famous Islamic figures.

Afghan Culture Minister, Sayed Makhdoom Raheen, believes naming Ghazni the capital of Islamic civilization could help the city attract tourists. “As Ghazni city is named as the capital of Islamic civilization, this provides a good opportunity for both the city to host tourists and the tourists to visit the valuable historic monuments,” Raheen said, adding that the reconstruction and renovation projects are part of the goal to make the city more attractive.

The security issue remains a big challenge for the Afghan government. Ghazni, once a relatively safe province, has recently changed to dangerous area. Although the city of Ghazni is secure, the province in general is not. Taliban militants threaten its stability by launching raids, bombings and suicide attacks in the districts very close to the provincial city.

Ghazni governor Musa Akbarzada called on the Taliban to stop fighting at least in light of the recognition the city has received. “I hope this event (naming the city as the capital of Islamic civilization) will make the armed opposition understand that war has nothing except bloodshed and destruction,” Akbarzada said. “Why shouldn’t we deserve living in peace and unity? As we had it in the past.”

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Hafiz Ahmadi, 35, graduated from Faculty of Journalism, Kabul University in 2001. He has worked with different Afghan and international media in his 10-year career. Hafiz is currently a correspondent with the German Press Agency (dpa).