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Photographer's Note

During my journey back to Europe through western Asia in the spring of 1973 I passed through Balkh, a small town in northern Afghanistan. It has a history of at least 4.000 years, and during the European Middle ages it was one of the most important cities of Asia. During the 13th and 14th centuries it was visited by Genghis Khan (who destroyed most of it), Tamerlane (Timur Lenk), Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta and many others. It was a city of culture, learning and business.

By the time I arrived not much but a few ruins remained of its glorious past. I only spent a few hours there, on a day trip from the large city of Mazar-i-Sharif. I probably found some place to have a simple meal, but I doubt if there were any hotels.

I remember having a nice time strolling along the few streets. In one of them I met this girl in red, in the market I saw these men selling salt. I don't remember if the second man was turning away from me to avoid having his face photographed, or if he was actually watching something. I remember the little red girl, but I don't remember taking this photo.

In a workshop you will find another completely forgotten photo from the open air market in Balkh.

I returned briefly to Balkh exactly 28 years later, in May 2001, just passing through by car. It looked very much the same, having been largely untouched by the long years of war.

All these pictures were scanned from Kodachrome slides. Here is a larger version of the main upload.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11712 W: 564 N: 22501] (97588)
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