Kandahar from Hazratji Tomb


This photograph of Kandahar, taken from the Hazratji Tomb, is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Located north of the center of the city and surrounded by the tombs of 19th-century Afghan rulers, the tomb is a shrine to Hazratji, a famous Kandahari saint. That his tomb is seven meters long attests to his reputation for holiness. The other tombs have tall marble stones at each end and are decorated with black and white pebbles. The photograph shows the walls and sentry towers of the city, sprawling across the background and fading into the distance to the right. Small shrines and graves occupy the foreground. The British occupied Kandahar from September 1880 until their withdrawal in April 1881, which marked the end of the war. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian influence in Afghanistan, invaded the country from British India. The first phase of the war ended in May 1879 with the Treaty of Gandamak, which permitted the Afghans to maintain internal sovereignty but forced them to cede control over their foreign policy to the British. Fighting resumed in September 1879 after an anti-British uprising in Kabul, and finally concluded in September 1880 with the decisive Battle of Kandahar. The album includes portraits of British and Afghan leaders and military personnel, portraits of ordinary Afghan people, and depictions of British military camps and activities, structures, landscapes, and cities and towns. The sites shown are all located within the borders of present-day Afghanistan or Pakistan (a part of British India at the time). About a third of the photographs were taken by John Burke (circa 1843–1900), another third by Sir Benjamin Simpson (1831–1923), and the remainder by several other photographers. Some of the photographs are unattributed. The album possibly was compiled by a member of the British Indian government, but this has not been confirmed. How it came to the Library of Congress is not known.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Kandahar from Hazratgi tomb

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print in an album : albumen


  1. “Tombs of Hazratgi & Shere Ali’s father [Kandahar],” British Library Online Gallery, March 2009, http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/photocoll/t/019pho0000050s1u00076000.html.

Last updated: September 30, 2016