Robert Harding

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857-33935 - Tajik women proudly pose with their children, burqa's thrown back, in front of the main entrance to the Blue Mosque, Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh Province. Wednesday mornings are reserved for women to come and worship at the mosque. Elaborate tilework and decorated spires adorn the mosque, also known as the Shrine of Hazrat Ali (Hazrat Ali was the son-in-law of the prophet Mohammed), who is believed to be buried here. The shrine, of particular importance for Afghanistan's Shi'ite Muslims, was first built in the 12th century, destroyed by Genghis Khan, and rebuilt in 1481. The current mosque, considered by some to be one of the most beautiful in Central Asia, is a modern restoration.
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