Bazaar and part of the city of Bagram.
|Elevation||4,895 ft (1,492 m)|
|Time zone||+ 4.30|
|History of Afghanistan|
Bagram (بگرام Bagrām), founded as Alexandria on the Caucasus and known in medieval times as Kapisa, is a small town and seat in Bagram District in Parwan Province of Afghanistan, about 60 kilometers north of the capital Kabul. It is the site of an ancient city located at the junction of the Ghorband and Panjshir Valley, near today's city of Charikar, Afghanistan.
It is unknown when the site was originally settled. In the mid 500s BC, Cyrus the Great of the Persian Achaemenid Dynasty destroyed the city as part of his campaign against the Saka nomads in the region. The town, however, was soon rebuilt by his successor Darius I.
In the 320s BC, Alexander the Great captured the city and established a fortified colony named Alexandria of the Caucasus. The new town, laid out in the "hippodamian plan" or iron-grid pattern—a hallmark of Greek city planning, had brick walls reinforced with towers at the angles. The central street was bordered with shops and workshops.
After his death in 323 BC, the city passed to his general Seleucus, who traded it with the Mauryans of India in 305 BC. After the Mauryans were overthrown by the Sunga Dynasty in 185 BC, the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom invaded and conquered northwestern India (present-day Pakistan) with an army led by Demetrius I of Bactria. Alexandria became a capital of the Eucratidian Indo-Greek Kingdom after they were driven out of Bactria by the Yuezhi in 140 BC.
Bagram became the capital of the Kushan Empire in the 1st century, from here they invaded and conquered Peshawar in the south. The "Bagram treasure" as it has been called, is indicative of intense commercial exchanges between all the cultural centers of the classical time, with the Kushan empire at the junction of the land and sea trade between the east and west. However, the works of art found in Bagram are either quite purely Hellenistic, Roman, Chinese or Indian, with only little indications of the cultural syncretism found in Greco-Buddhist art.
Statue of Harpocrates, Bagram, 2nd century.
Statuette of Serapis from Bagram.
Statuette of the young Alexander the Great.
Plaster mold from Bagram depicting a cupid.
Bagram hosts the strategic Bagram Airfield from which most US air activity in Afghanistan takes place. The runway was built in 1976 and it was a Soviet Air base from 1979 to 1989. There is also a Provincial Reconstruction Team which is led by the US.
Bagram is also the location of the Parwan Detention Facility, this detention facility was the last prison in Afghanistan under management of the US. It was handed back to the Afghan government on 25 March 2013. The detention centre came earlier in the news as it was claimed that prisoners were tortured: see the article Bagram torture and prisoner abuse, and also at the time of the hand-over of the facility human-rights groups like Amnesty International have raised concerns about the treatment of prisoners in the facility
References and footnotes
- Aljazeera news: US hands over Bagram prison to Afghanistan, 25 March 2013
- Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul (2008). Eds., Friedrik Hiebert and Pierre Cambon. National Geographic, Washington, D.C. ISBN 978-1-4262-0374-9.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Bagram.|
- Map of Bagram and the surrounding area, Afghanistan Information Management Service (AIMS)
- Human Rights First; Undue Process: An Examination of Detention and Trials of Bagram Detainees in Afghanistan in April 2009 (2009)
- Human Rights First; Arbitrary Justice: Trial of Guantánamo and Bagram Detainees in Afghanistan (2008)