Mazar-i-Sharīf (məˈzæri_ʃəˈriːf ; Dari and مزارشریف), also known as Mazar-e Sharīf or simply Mazar, is the fourth-largest city in Afghanistan by population, with an estimated 500,207 residents in 2021. It is the capital of Balkh province and is linked by highways with Kunduz in the east, Kabul in the southeast, Herat in the southwest and Termez, Uzbekistan in the north. It is about from the Uzbek border. The city is also a tourist attraction because of its famous shrines as well as the Islamic and Hellenistic archeological sites. The ancient city of Balkh is also nearby.
The region around Mazar-i-Sharif has been historically part of Greater Khorasan and was controlled by the Tahirids followed by the Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Ilkhanates, Timurids, and Khanate of Bukhara until 1751 when it became part of the Durrani Empire (although under autonomous emirs). Eventually the city passed to a few local rulers before becoming part of Afghanistan in 1849.