Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Old Kandahar

Occupying the base of a bare rocky hill, about 3 miles to the west of modern Kandahar, are the ruins of the ancient city "Shahr -i- Husain Shah" after its last king, Shah Hussain Hotak. The remains of its former extensive defences crown the height of the rock, and were supplied with water from adjacent reservoirs partially cut out of rock, and partially built up. It is said to have been founded by Alexander the Great, and to have been several times destroyed and rebuilt by its Arab, Persian, Tartar, Turkman, and Uzbak conquerors, and was finally taken by surprise and sacked and destroyed by Nadir Shah, about 1738 A.D. The population of the city was resettled in Nadirabad, a new city built by Nadir on the site of his camp about 2 miles southeast in the open plain. This was hardly built before it was destroyed by Nadir Shah's successor in Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali, who founded the present city in 1747, and called it Ahmad Shahr or Ahmad Shahi.

The ruins of the old city are very extensive, and without apparent diminution have been delved for years and carried away as manure for the fields. They are also frequently searched for sulphur and nitre, both of which are met with in small quantities, as also coins, gold and other precious things, especially after heavy falls of rain. ["Kandahar and South-Central Afghanistan", by Ludwig W. Adamec, p-257]

Ruins of old Qandahar, c.1879. Watercolour sketch by Lieutenant John Frederick Irwin.

Ruins of old Kandahar Citadel, 1881. Photo by Sir Benjamin Simpson

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