The Governor's Palace in Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh Province, Afghanistan

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Balkh is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country and its name derives from the ancient city of Balkh, near the modern town. Its capital is Mazar-e Sharif. Hailed by Constantine and home to the famous and blue mosque, a Muslim holy place once brought to ruin by Genghis Khan, rebuilt by Timur, ruined again by the Soviets, and more recently the Taliban. Mazar-e-Sharif has for centuries been an important stop on the trade routes from the Far East to the Mediterranean and Europe. Mazar-e-Sharif today is a community rebounding, rebuilding, and once again will be an important center for trade and transit.
Balkh Province is situated in the northern part of Afghanistan, bordering Uzbekistan in the North, Tajikistan in the North-East, Kunduz Province in the East, Samangan Province in the South-East, Sar-e Pol Province in the South-West and Jowzjan Province in the West. The province covers an area of 16,840 km2. Nearly half of the province is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain (48.7%) while half of the area (50.2%) is made up of flat land.
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