Mosque Name: Blue Mosque
City: Mazari Sharif
Year of construction (AH): 8th Century
GPS: 36.709000 67.110842
Original Qibla: Between
The official name of this mosque is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. The Sultan of the Seljuq dynasty, Ahmed Sanjar, built the first known shrine at this location. It was destroyed or hidden under earthen embankment during the invasion of Genghis Khan around 1220. In the 15th century, Timurid Sultan Husayn Bayqarah Mirza built the current Blue Mosque here. It is by far the most important landmark in Mazar-i-Sharif and it is believed that the name of city (Noble Shrine, Grave of Hazrat-i-Ali Sharif) originates from this shrine.
A site plan of the location made in the 1910s shows that there had earlier been a smaller walled precinct in the mosque, which was razed to create park lands later, although the portals to this precinct still remain as gateways for the shrine. Tombs of varying dimensions were added for a number of Afghan political and religious leaders over the years, which has led to the development of its current irregular dimensions. These include the square domed tomb of Emir Dost Muhammad Khan, Wazir Akbar Khan and a similar structure for Emir Sher Ali and his family.
According to a local legend, Ali has been buried at the site at the Shrine of Hazrat Ali. Ali was reportedly was brought here by a white camel in order to save his remains from the desecration by his enemies. However, most Muslims consider that Ali is buried in Imam Ali Mosque, Najaf in Iraq. Alternatively, the personage buried in the shrine may have predated Islam. Identifying the shrine with Ali could likely be a myth to ensure the tomb would be protected and honored by the Islamic establishment. Another local legend claims that the entire mosque was once buried to protect it from Mongol armies although no evidence has been found to support this claim.