people of Mongol descent dwelling in the mountains of central Afghanistan. They number about 1,650,000, of whom about 1,500,000 live in Afghanistan, and the remainder in Iran. One group, the Eastern Hazara, inhabit the area known as the Hazarajat. There are important communities of them also in Iran and Baluchistan (Pakistan). The Western Hazara include those dwelling in the northern foothills of the Safid Kuh Selseleh-ye (Paropamisus Mountains); and a group on the border of Iran known as Hazara in Iran and as Taimuri, or Timuri, in Afghanistan. 

The Western Hazara are Sunnite Muslims and speak dialects of Persian. Many of them were still nomadic or seminomadic in the late 20th century. Some spend their summers in felt-covered conical tents.

The Eastern Hazara speak a peculiar kind of Persian with many Mongol and Turkic words. Most of them are Shi'ite Muslims of the Twelver faith. They live in fortified villages of flat-roofed houses of stone or mud built wall-to-wall around a central courtyard, overlooking the narrow valleys in which they cultivate rotating crops of barley, wheat, and legumes, as well as various fruits and cucumbers. The vast, treeless mountains that dominate the landscape are used chiefly for pasturing sheep.


Afghanpedia Table of Content