Ghazni (gŭzˈnē) [key], city (1981 est. pop. 31,200), capital of Ghazni prov., E central Afghanistan, on the Ghazni River. Located on the Kabul-Kandahar trade route, Ghazni is a market for sheep, wool, camel hair cloth, corn, and fruit. The famed Afghan sheepskin coats are made in the city. Most of the inhabitants are Tajiks. The city, named Ghazna in ancient times, was flourishing by the 7th cent. but reached its peak (962–c.1155) under the Turkish Ghaznavid dynasty. Mahmud of Ghazna built a magnificent mosque, the Celestial Bride, there. The kings of Ghor sacked Ghazni in 1149 but later (1173) made it their secondary capital. Ogotai, a son of Jenghiz Khan, completed its downfall in 1221; Mahmud's tomb and two high columns outside the city escaped destruction. In 1747 the city became part of the new kingdom of Afghanistan. Ghazni's strong fortress was taken by the British in 1839 and 1842 during the Afghan Wars. The main city on the Kabul-Kandahar highway, it became a strategic military target during the Afghanistan War. The walled, old city of Ghazni, with its numerous bazaars, contains the ruins of ancient Ghazna.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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