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029. Bust

Variant Name (includes): Qal'eh-ye Bost (Qal'eh-ye Bust, Qal'eh-ye Bist, Qalah-i Bust), Qal'a-i-Bust (Qal'a-i-Bost, Qal'a-i-Bist) Qala Bist (Qala Bust, Qala Bost)

See also Lashkari Bazaar

Helmand Province. 7 kilometers south of Lashkargah, at the confluence of the Arghandab and Helmand Rivers.

Dates: Achaemenid, 6th-4th century BC (epigraphic evidence);
           Sassanian, 4th-7th century AD (ceramic, numismatic);
           Ghaznavid – Ghurid, 11th-13th century (architectural,
                ceramic, epigraphic, historical evidence)

Bust forms the southern end of the Lashkari Bazaar complex, and is dominated by an immense citadel on a mound of uncertain date surrounded by a high enclosure wall. On top of the citadel are the remains of many structures, both in mud and baked brick, most noteable of which is a seven storey galleried well down through the middle. At the foot of the citadel is a free-standing Ghurid-period arch, and outside the enclosure the most notable remains are a mud-brick, Ghaznavid palace and the probably later baked brick shrine of Ghiyyas al-Din.

There have been many important accidental finds from the site, including a collection of carved and inscribed bricks to the north of the citadel and a stone weight with an Old Persian cuneiform inscription found in the vicinity.

Arch at Bust

Variant Name (includes): Arch at Lashkar Gar (Lashkari Bazar), Arch at Qal'eh-ye Bost (Qal'eh-ye Bust, Qal'eh-ye Bist, Qal'a-i-Bust, Qal'a-i-Bost, Qal'a-i-Bist, Qala Bist, Qala Bust, Qala Bost).

Helmand Province. South of the inner moat of the Citadel of Bust.

Date: Ghurid, 12th century.

The Archnet Digital Library describes the Arch at Bust in the following manner: "The ancient city of Bust on the east bank of the Helmand river in southern Afghanistan was settled as early as the 7th century BC and lived its golden age under the Ghaznavids, who established it as their winter capital in 976 AD. The monumental arch located to the north of the citadel mount (Qal'a-i Bust) was built by Ghurid rulers following their conquest of the city in 1149.

The pointed archway spans about twenty-five meters and is flanked by buttresses carved with bands of inscriptions and blind arches. An early photograph of the arch shows a northern buttress crumbled to half the height of the archway, carved with a vertical Kufic band adjoining the arch and two tiers of blind niches separated with horizontal panels of inscriptions. The lower tier in this image features a broad horse-shoe arch, while the upper tier includes twin pointed arches. Both the north and south buttresses were capped above the lower tier of niches during the 1960s restoration, leaving Kufic borders rising alone on either side of the arch. Brick supports were erected inside the arch in the 1970s; the archway is blocked on both sides by brick walls.

T"he decorative effort of the arch is concentrated on the western façade, which contains the inscriptive bands. The outer surface of the arch is covered a tile or terracotta band of floral arabesques and a band of interlacing geometric motifs -- including pentagrams and Hindu swastikas -- made of tiles encrusted with stucco. Kufic bands to the right and left of the arch contain incomplete segments of a Quranic verse and the foundation inscription, respectively. The arch soffit, which is more than one and a half meters wide, is covered with a tile relief interlacing stars and hexagons filled in with terracotta floral motifs. The exterior of the buttresses were decorated with tiles during the restorations."

See also: Warwick Ball, Archaeological Gazetteer of Afghanistan, 1982, n. 149

"Helmand Province, Bust." Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage. [Accessed July 17, 2006]

  31° 30' N
  31.500000° N
  64° 21' E

64.350000° E


Bust is located at the above coordinates on JOG map