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The Path of Alexander The Great through our Country E-mail
By Tahir Kabuli

The path of Alexander the Great through our country has fascinated many people and researchers. In this brief note, I would like to trace his path through the existing borders of our country. Alexander, after defeating Darius III of Achemanshid, entered our country’s existing border and reached Aria or today's Herat. The ruler of the city, Sati Barzan, realized his weakness to face Alexander alone, made peace with him. Alexander left Sati Barzan more or less in his position as the city's ruler and tried to reach Bactra to defeat Fori Bsus, who had declared himself as ruler of Bactra (today's Balkh).

Alexander was on his way to Bactra, when the news of Sati Barzan rebellion reached to him. At that time the center of the city of Herat was called Arta Kowfa and archaeologists place it where today's Akhtiarudin Fort is located. The ruler of Herat, Sati Barzan, killing the Greek military observer along with some of their soldiers, fortified his positions by the time of Alexander's return. After Alexander reached Herat and the two sides were engaged in fierce fighting and eventually the city of Herat fell back to the Greeks. After this rebellion, Alexander was weary of future rebellion and tried to keep the conquered city under control by building a military fort in Herat. This fort was called the Alexandria of Aria or Alexandria of Herat.This was the first of a series of garrison towns he built in our country.

The path of Alexander the Great through our country has fascinated many people and researchers. In this brief note, I would like to trace his path through the existing borders of our country. Alexander, after defeating Darius III of Achemanshid, entered our country’s existing border and reached Aria or today's Herat. The ruler of the city, Sati Barzan, realized his weakness to face Alexander alone, made peace with him. Alexander left Sati Barzan more or less in his position as the city's ruler and tried to reach Bactra to defeat Fori Bsus, who had declared himself as ruler of Bactra (today's Balkh).

Alexander was on his way to Bactra, when the news of Sati Barzan rebellion reached to him. At that time the center of the city of Herat was called Arta Kowfa and archaeologists place it where today's Akhtiarudin Fort is located. The ruler of Herat, Sati Barzan, killing the Greek military observer along with some of their soldiers, fortified his positions by the time of Alexander's return. After Alexander reached Herat and the two sides were engaged in fierce fighting and eventually the city of Herat fell back to the Greeks. After this rebellion, Alexander was weary of future rebellion and tried to keep the conquered city under control by building a military fort in Herat. This fort was called the Alexandria of Aria or Alexandria of Herat.This was the first of a series of garrison towns he built in our country.

                    The Fort of Akhtiaurdin in Herat (Image from National Geographic)

After the incident of Herat, Alexander changed his mind and did not continue to Balkh and instead moved southward. He entered the region of Zarangiaya (Darangiana or Sakestana) and proceeded to the city of Prophthasia. This city is believed to be located in Paishawaran in Phrada (today's Farah) and the ruins are still located in the north of Hamon river around one hundred eighty miles from Herat. Alexander built the second fort (Alexandria Prophthasia) here in this city.

From the city of Prophthasia, Alexander moved towards the region of Argandab and entered the city of Arachoton (today's Kandahar). At a distance of around three miles from today's Kandahar city, there are ruins that called the old city. This city was contemporary of the Indian Murias and at the time of Alexander was populated. Alexander built his third fort here, which was known as the Alexandria of Arachoton.

Alexander then moved to Ghazni his route was mostly near the foot of the mountains. From Ghazni his route passes from the regions that were near the mountains to Wardak, Maidan and Argande. Alexander never passed from today's Kabul. From Argande, he directly went to Kapisa through the mountains of Paghman. Near the Sarai Kwaja in north of Kabul, there were some ruins known as Sar-e-Sekandari (Asar-e-Sekandari) meaning the fort of Alexander.

In the year 328 BC, he reached to the region where the rivers of Panjsher, Salang, Shatal and Ghorband meet. There is some evidence of his temporary stay in the north of Bagram. On the right side of the river, in today's Gebul Saraj, he built another
Alexandria, which is known as the Alexandria of Caucasus (Askandria-e-Qafqaz or Askandria Paro paizad). Alexander moved to the North of the country (Bactra) passing Hindokush mountains from this fort. It is known that the first place in the north where Alexander reached is Drayska or today's Anderab. However it is not very clear which way did he pass. There are several ways to reach Anderab from Gebul Saraj (Parwan). It is widely believed that he might have passed through the Khawak pass.

After a series of campaigns in the north of Hindokush (Bactra), Alexander returned to Alexandria of Gebul Saraj. He then following the river of Panjsher, along the foot of the Reeza Kohistan mountains, moved to Lampaka which is today's Laghman. Some archaeologists believes that here in Laghman, Alexander built a town and named it after the Greek God of victory. It is believe to be located between today's Mendawar and Char Bagh. He offered many sacrifices to the God of victory here.

Here, Alexander divided his army into two parts. The small part, commanded by him, went to Swat through the valley of Kunar. The larger part under the command of two generals took the path along the Kabul river and eventually met Alexander along the Indus river thus exiting the existing borders of our country.

  The path of Alexander the Great (image from National Geographic)
 
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