Green Mosque, Balkh, Afghanistan

This mosque is known by the name SABZ MOSQUE or as in English language it is known as GREEN MOSQUE. This mosque has been built in the extreme northern corner of the country, in a town which is called BALKH. There are two versions about who ordered the construction of this mosque. Some scholars are of the opinion that the then ruler of the State of Timurid state of Afghanistan, SHAH RUKH ordered its construction, whereas some scholars believe that his life partner GOHARSHAD. The mosque was built from 1419 to 1421.

When Tamerlane passed away from this world, the different factions started fighting to get control of the Territory. The Turkmen destroyed the western part of the empire when his forces seized control of Baghdad in the year 1410. Fortunately Shahrukh succeeded in controlling the area of Persia and Transoxiana from 1409 onwards and had tight control over the trade paths between East and West including the main Silk Route and became very rich through trading between these routes.  Becoming rich through the trading efforts, Shahrukh’s wife Gauharshad helped finances many mosques and schools in the safest parts of the country, Khorasan.  During this period of peace in the region many constructions of mosques and other structures took place. Shah Jahan acquired many new ideas for the construction of mosques and other buildings that he built throughout the period of his rule.

The buildings built during the Shah Jahan’s rule are typically of Timurid design. If compared with the original beauty of the buildings, there are only 20% of it is left, both because of negligence in maintaining the structures and the other fact is the Soviet-Afghan war which has caused colossal loss to the buildings. The verandah of the mosque is intact which allows people to pray in the open place. The garden at the back of the building has been totally neglected and this has ruined the beauty of the mosque. The minarets have collapsed, firstly because of non-maintenance and old age and secondly destroyed by the hostility of the Soviet forces.  If the management had carried out proper maintenance, the mosque would have been in a better shape and would not have been ruined altogether. The floor of the mosque has been destroyed beyond repair except replacement. The wooden structure such as doors and windows could be repaired if proper attention is given.

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