This is the 15th century Hazrat Ali mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. Throughout the centuries it has been restored a number of times.
Hazrat Ali is the most famous mosque in Afghanistan, attracting considerable numbers of pilgrims who revere it as the burial site of the Prophet's son in law Ali. A majority of the world's muslims believe that Ali is buried in Najaf in Iraq, but that doesn't diminish the attraction of Mazar-i-Sharif.
I took this photo in mid May 1973 during my second visit to Afghanistan. I was on my way home after spending many months in Asia, mainly in India. Going east in 1972 I travelled through the south of Afghanistan. Returning home I chose the northern route, which was a lot more interesting but also much tougher, because it involved travelling for several days in a virtually roadless part of a country.
Going through the central highlands was out of the question because of the almost total lack of roads.
You can see another view of Hazrat Ali from a sunnier day in a workshop. I have also showed this mosque several years ago, like this general view and this close-up.
Here is a larger version of today's upload.
These photos were all scanned from Kodachrome slides.
Critiques | Translate
Romano46 (18472) 2014-02-19 7:54
mi ricordo che questa era una delle mete più importanti di qualsiasi viaggio in Affganistan quando iol paese era in pace, anche se era una delle mete più difficilimente raggiungibili per via del pessimo stato delle strade.
Questa foto ce ne dà una bella rappresentazione e posso immaginare la brillantezza dei suoi colori nell'originale, visto che anche la trasformazione in digitale non ne ha alterato i colori in maniera significativa.
Bella anche la composizione dominata nell'intero formato dai toni dell'azzurro.
Ciao e buona giornata
saxo042 (37900) 2014-02-19 7:56
En mycket fin samling bilder alla tre. De andra har jag ju kommenterat tidigare, men många medlemmar tycks ha missat dem. En vacker byggnad med mycket vackra färger.
PaulVDV (29533) 2014-02-19 8:15
This is the place that the Swiss biker has visited last year.
The architecture is awesome with the many blue tiles and the beautiful patterns.
It reminds me a little of mosques and madrassas that I've visited in Iran. Perhaps the style here is more the one of nearby Uzbekistan.
It looks like in that time you had no problem to include women on the picture.
Best regards, Paul
rychem (37427) 2014-02-19 9:12
Simply great photo, fantastic architecture like from tales "One thousand and one nights".
Very well presented and detailed photo, compliments
Fis2 (99766) 2014-02-19 9:22
Beautiful building,fantastic mosaic!
Excellent POV and colours.
I like windows ;)
Have a nice evening
pajaran (61906) 2014-02-19 9:29
Dobar tekst o staroj dzamiji, sa istorijom i opisom ...
Dobar rad skeniranjem slajda, lepa fotografija.
Lepo pokazana dzamija i detalji na fasadi, lepe boje.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje sa lepim secanjem.
A good article on the old mosque, with a history and description of the ...
Good work by scanning the slide, beautiful photos.
Nice shown mosques and details on the facade, beautiful colors.
Good evening and all the best with beautiful memories.
Kamilutka (8107) 2014-02-19 9:57
this is absolutely wonderful architecture with so many fine and tiny elements that make me think about years of effort to finish this mosaic walls. The colors are lovely mixed and the whole composition with sky of another shade of blue makes very subtle combination. Couple of pedestrians give sense of scale and bring life to the photo.
Very interesting picture and superbly presented!
Thanks for sharing and have a lovely evening.
yquem46 (38752) 2014-02-19 10:06
There 40 years ago, you were on the same tracks Roland et Sabrina Michaud, who made me discover Afghanistan through their photos
I really regret that i've never been able to go there
Bravo for this good scan from famous Mazar
best regards, have a nice evening
ktanska (28034) 2014-02-19 11:01
A real gem from a rarely visited place. Those blue patterns are very finely detailed, I think each arch is different. And once again I amazed of the quality of your scanned slides.
williewhistler (16398) 2014-02-19 11:11
it`s not only the highly ornate facade of the mosque that make this such an attractive travel photograph but also the inclusion of the personnel in traditional clothes who add there own interest.
The colours and intricate details have transferred from the original slide perfectly,another gem.
Kind regards Les.
jemaflor (98793) 2014-02-19 11:26
great architecture, so beautiful colors, perfect sharpness and interesting composition with people, well made, tfs.
mesutilgim (95546) 2014-02-19 12:24
Hello dear Gert,
Wonderfull capture from Mazar-ı Sherif !
An important sacred place for Afgani muslims.
Again a perfect TE entry with many interesting notes.
TFS and best regards
Royaldevon (39766) 2014-02-19 12:56
I am still amazed by the complexity of the decoration on this building; such pride and such artistry has been used. How lucky you were to get such close-up views of it, before the country was plunged into war.
I like how you have been able to capture people in traditional dress, unaware of you and your camera. They add a fine authenticity, somehow.
My warm regards,
ourania (47150) 2014-02-19 13:05
the architecture, its decorative patterns and the colours are magnificent. Following the repeating patterns and the subtle variations of the decoration is very enjoyable, your picture is rewarding and remarkably clear. I like very much the peculiar intensity of the light and the contrasts. The people are eye-catching and mysterious. It's great to look at a timeless picture with a 3D effect. Your older posts and the workshop picture are fascinating too. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a good night,
Silvio1953 (145703) 2014-02-19 13:10
Ciao Gert, great view of fascinating architecture, lovely composition, wonderful colors, excellent clarity and splendid light, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio
mvdisco (17794) 2014-02-19 16:13
Hi Gert, bonjour,
Fantastic architecture and details of the mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan,
Nice point of view and beautiful building too made with mozaic,
Nice tone of colors and light,
very well done...
macjake (69195) 2014-02-19 19:17
It would have been cool to be your wingman along your journey! sounds like you had a memorable time and trip, and probably because it WAS tougher.
I find that the easier the trip means less exciting memories there are - but thats just me.
the WS photo really shows the beauty of this Mosque, even though these 2 didn't scan as well as most of your other shots.
amazing architecture isn't, the colors are stunning.
I wonder if they'd done added reno's since you took this photo in 73' - probably.
a good trip down memory lane here
adidas5nb (5743) 2014-02-19 19:22
wow..what architecture and artwork.love the the ambiance here.great pov. and the fact that it was shot 41 years ago makes its even more interesting.
ACL1978 (7511) 2014-02-19 21:15
Hi Gert - just poking my head up from under the snow to check in on everyone here - hope you've been well. A really gorgeous shot from the archives - the ubiquity of deep blue here helps to accentuate the three (four?) figures as they move along, and the tilework is gorgeous, even in an older exposure. Interesting note as well. Thanks!
Apurba20 (984) 2014-02-19 23:00
Your collections are fascinating.
The mosque really stands out, and is showy as ever. Can't imagine that is a 40 year old photo.
emka (100039) 2014-02-19 23:39
After Yemen, another place that now it seems rather impossible to go. But tragic that even I was not long ago in the places that now are impossible to visit - I mean Syria and now we are horrified with the news from Ukraine.
Amazing architecture. I have seen many mosques but not in this style, like in Iran or Uzbekistan. Marvelous decorations in blue and superb quality of the scanning.
Warm regrads MAlgo
Subhogen (4067) 2014-02-20 0:37
Your photos from Afghanistan shows the beauty of this country before it fell into wrong hands and got turned into rubble. Here you present nice view of a fine mosque which has good depiction of Islamic architecture. The blue colour and the intricate mosaic work is very attractive. Great image quality for a photo so old as usual. Excellent contribution, thanks for sharing.
SnapRJW (31629) 2014-02-20 1:38
Hello Gert - The tiles that decorate the exterior of the mosque are stunningly beautiful and very well captured. I did a quick search and discovered that there is a tile making workshop in the grounds of the mosque where replacement are made by hand. You may find this link interesting http://www.rferl.org/content/timeless_beauty_afghanistan_blue_mosque/24204654.html
I do so love looking at your historical shots and reading about your travels. This is another fine contribution to TE.
Warm regards Rosemary
subhendu_bagchi (26089) 2014-02-20 3:18
this mosque is really a beautiful one. Love the blue facade and emerald green dome. Superb composition with those people who are going towards the main door of it (a guess). Interesting colour contrast with the surrounding nature. Excellent composition too. Tfs.
mkamionka (37843) 2014-02-20 7:38
I like very much these turquoise walls and domes. They introduce so much color to the scene. People present there allow to imagine scale of the structure. Decorations seem so rich and colorful it must be interesting to see it closer with own eyes.
I guess plenty of structures were damaged in this country again and it is not very easy to travel there at the moment so the photos have very special value here.
Thanks for sharing,
photographer_sg (4414) 2014-02-20 9:05
beautiful picture of the mosque with such fine details revealed with great clarity. the clouded sky in the background gives a fantastic mood. in fact the blue shade of the sky combines with the mosque so well and the entire setting contrasts with the warmer ore ground. thanks for sharing and have a nice evening.
eldancer1 (36343) 2014-02-20 15:12
Beautiful mosque especially the colors of those tiles, blue appears to soothing. Good pov and sharp details. Nice to have the people for scale. Well done, tfs.
jcpix (13930) 2014-02-20 19:48
I'm sure I probably sound like a broken record already, but this insight and look into the past from such an intriguing place is captivating. It's obvious you had already developed a good eye for composition and subject matter. The mosque would have been interesting enough on its own, but including the people in passing is key to further grip ones attention. Such beautiful design, which I imagine has remained in tact to this day. I envy your travels. :) Enjoy the day ahead. Take care.
abmdsudi (55176) 2014-02-20 23:30
The grand mosque offers a multitude of detail in the architectural design and the stunning traditional green colour. It's an absolute treasure trove filled by layers of lively tones with people's presence as vital element for this type of shot. You've made a great visual sense, indeed a stand out shot creating lots of interest, Great capture, TFS
jhm (154576) 2014-02-21 2:28
I think that you one of the most countries has visited on TE, these picture is for a lot people old, but not for me through my age.
I have with a lot attention looked to your links and second picture.
Afghanistan, a very nice country with a very great history, but we as western people can there not life.
Sharpness and clarity make these picture attractive.
Excellent captured, nice presentation.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice day,
Nicou (144332) 2014-02-21 5:34
sueprbe avec les personnages tout habillsé de noir qui passent devant la merveilleuse mosquées et ces coupoles et le minarets ce bleu et quelle architecture quelle décoration de faïence à la srface c'est une merveille
Bravo et belle journée
TRB (14116) 2014-02-21 14:09
Architecture, detail, sharpness and image and wonderful.
People to be super, super mosque
Have you excellent exposure.
siudzi (34141) 2014-02-21 23:51
This blue architecture looks absolutely amazing with its fantastic design and stunning decorations elements! Unique presentation. Very well observed and cropped scene. Well done!
Have a nice weekend!
Miguel82 (27646) 2014-02-22 2:57
A jewel of architecture with fine and precise patterns Gert, it reminds mosques you can see in Iran or Central asia, so bright colors contrasting with the dark hues of the hijabs, greetings
kasianowak (9355) 2014-02-22 6:44
Incredibly beautiful architecture! I'm glad you included a few people too.
I wonder if this building still exists or if it has been destroyed in one of the wars that followed.
imageme (1790) 2014-02-22 17:20
Hi Gert, What a beautiful architecture which one could find it in the Disney movie Aladdin. The blue patterns have unique designs. The people in the front of the building make the whole scene alive. Awesome colour contrasts and nice light. Thank for sharing
worldcitizen (8818) 2014-02-23 12:01
I've always liked photos of this mosque. The colors and intricate artistic details are amazing. Each panel around the windows has something different and special to offer.
fabbs99 (17167) 2014-03-02 11:48
Nice view of the mosque from mazar-i-sharif. Excellent image quality with good colors and sharpness.Very well done. TFS.
nikkitta (17066) 2014-03-03 12:42
I read a lot about this country which architecture seems a bit similar to Iran or an I wrong?
You are quite an adventured person, lucky for you and us to have preserved all this histiric images
The builing is really impresive with the colors in all shades of beautiful blue
Good the matching contrast given by the black, present in open windows and people
Congrats, well done
adores (45717) 2014-03-17 17:51
Amazing place and a very good old shot! Hope it hasn't changed much, the mosque is really beautiful. I like the birds on the domes, the open windows and the people passing. I'm sure it was a really interesting place.
mcmtanyel (24015) 2014-03-24 20:00
Exquisite colors, great sharpness, a slide that has not lost its freshness in 41 years! Congratulations and TFS!
dkmurphys (60071) 2014-03-27 2:18
Interesting place there. I like the predominant blue color and the atmosphere around this sacred place. Well taken scene.
romanaa (7984) 2014-04-14 13:19
pure beauty in these tile patterns. There is a special atmosphere in this shot, but I really do not know what makes it... maybe the matching bluish tones.
Tigerlily (3379) 2014-04-22 12:41
Hi again, Gert. That's really a beautiful building. wonderful colour and detail. The people looked surreal but added on more interests. Thanks for the information.
jmdias (65119) 2015-02-03 15:54
amazing sample of architecture, those white things in the domes are probably doves. impressive image. very beautiful and interesting.
unclehotshot (4000) 2015-08-04 2:33
I have never been to Afghanistan, and I'm afraid I never will.
But my job has allowed me to have hundreds of hours of conversation with Afghan refugees. And this photo is just what I imagine the beautiful Afghanistan to be. Then there is the other Afghanistan, that I heard so much about. But let's keep in mind the beauty, too.
A fine aestetic picture.