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Balkh (/bælx/; Pashto/Dari: بلخ‎, Balkh; Ancient Greek: Βάκτρα, Báktra; Bactrian: Βάχλο, Bakhlo), is a town in the Balkh Province of Afghanistan, about 20 km (12 mi) northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some 74 km (46 mi) south of the Amu Darya river and the Uzbekistan border. Its population was recently estimated to be 138,594.


  • The modern town of Balkh is not even the shadow of the grandeur of the ancient city which was once the 'pride' of Afghanistan, the ‘Mother of cities'; culturally so sacred as to be called ‘Little Rajagriha’. At present it lies in ruins. Only some of its monuments stand in mounds, some excavated while others still buried unnoticed. Only the ancient wall of the town, which once encircled it, stands partially. One or two stupas in ruinous condition and some excavated monasteries are presently available there. Archaeological discoveries, though scanty, present its ancient glory and glamour.
    • C.S. Upasak, in his History of Buddhism in Afghanistan, [1]

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