North Afghanistan's biggest city, Mazar-e Sharif was long overshadowed by the power of its neighbour Balkh. It took a 12th-century mullah to change that. He claimed to have found the hidden tomb of Ali, the Prophet Mohammed's son-in-law, buried in a local village. Balkh declined and Mazar grew as a place of pilgrimage. Its shrine today is the focus of the national Nauroz (Navrus) celebrations, and is a great place to see buzkashi (a traditional polo-like game played with a headless goat carcass).
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