Rare Artifacts Shed Light on Jewish Life in Ancient Afghanistan, Persia

National Library

Ynetnews reports: A rare collection of 250 documents from the 11th to the 15th century was purchased by the National Library and reveals for the first time the main trade routes of the Silk Road, which stretched from the Far East to Europe.

The collection, dubbed the Second Afghan Genizah, was found several years ago in caves in the city of Bamyan in central Afghanistan. The find is considered an ancient and rare treasure from which scholars can learn much about life in ancient Jewish and Muslim communities in Persia and Afghanistan before the Mongol conquest.

Most of the texts were written by Jewish and Muslim merchants who lived in the period preceding the destruction the Mongol armies wreaked from 1258-1260, when they were led by the grandson of Genghis Khan.

The documents shed light on subjects that so far have largely been unknown, such as the daily lives of merchants and communities along the Silk Road, customs, and social and economic relations of Jews at the time.

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