Situated in northern Afghanistan, the ancient city of Balkh was one of the great cultural crossroads of world history. Following its transformation from a sacred Buddhist center into one of the holy cities of Islam, this podcast delves into the little-known interactions of Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish peoples along the pilgrimage and trade routes of Central Asia. We’ll hear what the recent discovery of medieval manuscripts in arcane languages like Bactrian and Judeo-Arabic tells us about everyday life in this pluralistic society, as well as the gradual process of conversion as Balkh’s Buddhist stupas gave way to a new sacred geography. Nile Green talks to Arezou Azad, the author of Sacred Landscape in Medieval Afghanistan: Revisiting the Faḍāʾil-i Balkh (Oxford University Press, 2013).

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