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RE 103 — Bala Borj

A general view of the so-called Bala Borj (upper tower) from SW. This fortification was constructed on top of the remains of a Buddhist stupa on the crest of the mountain Koh-e Sher Darwaza, marked with A on the General Plan. Another building stands on the right side of the towerlike fortification.
[Album:] Photo. No. 13. / Bala Boorj. Looking down the hill towards the Bala Hissar. [S&M List:] 2-57 Bala Borge. [only left part mentioned]
  • Original:
    Chatham: Cabul Defences, Photo No. 13, “Green Album”, No. J1 6/256
  • Collection Cabul Defences, Plans No. 6A and 7
  • Not in the albums of the usual RE Collections.
  • Hensman, H. (1882): The Afghan War of 1879-80, p. 296: “December 11th to 23rd. General Charles Gough’s brigade in the Bala Hissar is busy at work, cutting a broad road from the Shah Shehr Gate (that facing Siah Sung) to the gate overlooking the city near Chandaul. […] The Sherderwaza Heights immediately above the Bala Hissar are also to be held in future by one battalion (say 500 or 600 men), stationed in three strong towers, now in course of construction. The first and strongest of these is on the spur above the arsenal; a steep point completely commanding the Upper Bala Hissar already being crowned with strong walls, the basement of the tower.”
  • Woodburn, C.W. (2009): The Bala Hissar of Kabul. Revealing a fortress-palace in Afghanistan, p. 40, Figure 50: “Panoramic view of the Bala Burj, from the west in 1880. The tower is being rebuilt.”
  • The Second Afghan War 1878-80: Abridged Official Account (1908), p. 395: “Three hundred feet above the Bala Hissar stands the Bala Burj, which has been repaired, and which is now capable of accommodating twenty rifles; it is practically inaccessible, has a most extensive command of fire, and is an excellent link between the upper Bala Hissar and the Sher Darwaza and the Deh Mazang gorge, and to communicate with the work on Asmai.”
Image No.
RE 103
Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive 1878-1880 1878-1880
RE 100-115, Confidential Photographs/Plans
Two albumen paper with gold toning, 205/280 mm, on brittle, brown paper with printed captions
Fore- and background faded, two black areas in the right part
Place, date
Kabul, winter 1879/80
  • 0101. Kabul City
  • 2.126 Kabul and SE-Afghanistan
  • 4.364 Second A.-A. War (1878-1880)
  • 4.83 Military Installations, Buildings
  • Latitude / Longitude34.503551 / 69.183559
    Google Earth34°30'13" N / 69°11'01" E / 1905 m
    Survey of India MapSheet 38 (1917), Kabul: Kabul, 2B 26

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