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Alexandria of the Caucasus (Askandria-e-Qafqaz or Askandria Paro paizad) was a city founded by Alexander the Great (one of many given the name Alexandria), at an important junction of communications in the southern foothills of the Hindu Kush, about 45 miles North of Kabul, in the country of the Paropamisadae. It was built on top of Kapiša-kaniš (pronounced "Kapish-Kanish"), capital of the Persian satrapy of Gandara (although it is not known whether Gandara was still a part of the Achaemenid empire when Alexander took it), and populated with some 4000 natives and 3000 veteran Greeks in March 329 BC. He had also built forts in what is nowadays Bagram or Begram in Afghanistan, at the foot of the Hindu Kush, replacing forts erected in much the same place by Persia's king Cyrus the Great c. 500 BC.

Indo-Greek capital

Silver coin of the Greco-Bactrian king Eucratides (170-145 BC), mentioning Alexandria/ Kapisa.
Obv: Bust of king Eucratides. Greek legend: BASILEOS MEGALOY EUKRATIDOY "Great King Eucratides".
Rev: Divinity of Kapisa with palm in left hand, probably Zeus, extending a wreath over the head of a small elephant. Hills to the right. Kharoshthi legend: KAVISIYE NAGARA DEVATA "Divinity of the city of Kapisa".

Alexandria of the Causasus was one of the capitals of the Indo-Greek kings (180 BC - 10 AD). During the reign of Menander I the city was recorded as having a thriving Buddhist community, headed by Greek monks. In Buddhist litterature, the Greek (Pali: Yona, lit: "Ionian") Buddhist monk Mahadhammarakkhita (Sanskrit: Mahadharmaraksita) is said to have come from “Alasandra” (thought to be Alexandria of the Caucasus, with 30,000 monks for the foundation ceremony of the Maha Thupa ("Great stupa") at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka:

"From Alasanda the city of the Yonas came the thera (elder) Yona Mahadhammarakkhita with thirty thousand bhikkhus." (Mahavamsa, XXIX)

Modern times

Some archaeological evidence concerning Alexandria of the Caucasus was gathered by Charles Masson (1800 - 1853), providing insight into the history of that lost city. His findings include coins, rings, seals and other small objects. In the 1930s French archaeologist Ghrshman, doing excavations in Bagram, found Egyptian and Syrian glassware, bronze statuettes, bowls and other objects, this being an indication that Alexander's conquests have opened India to imports from the west.

The site of Alexandria of the Caucasus is now the city of Chârikâr in Afghanistan. Bagram now hosts Bagram Air Base which was of great importance during the recent conflict in Afghanistan.


Alexander the Great: his towns (

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