Skip to product information
1 of 10


Buzkashi Horsemen & Bala Hissar Fortress 500 Afghanis Afghanistan Authentic Banknote Money for Jewelry and Craft Making (High Fort) (Kabul)

Buzkashi Horsemen & Bala Hissar Fortress 500 Afghanis Afghanistan Authentic Banknote Money for Jewelry and Craft Making (High Fort) (Kabul)

Regular price $3.66 USD
Regular price Sale price $3.66 USD
Sale Sold out
Taxes included. Shipping calculated at checkout.
I'm Cheaper by the Dozen

Buzkashi Horsemen & Bala Hissar Fortress 500 Afghanis Afghanistan Authentic Banknote Money for Jewelry and Craft Making (High Fort) (Kabul)

Obverse: Bank arms with horseman at top centre, horsemen competing in Buzkashi at right. Reddish-brown, deep green and deep brown on multicolor underprint.

Reverse: Bala Hissar fortress at Kabul at left centre. Deep green on multicolor underprint.

Lettering: Da Afghanistan Bank

UV: Threads fluoresce blue.
Bala Hissar ("High Fort") is an ancient fortress located in the south of the old city of Kabul, Afghanistan. The estimated date of construction is around the 5th century AD.

Issuer Afghanistan
Issuing bank Da Afghanistan Bank
Period Democratic Republic (1978-1992)
Type Standard banknote
Years 1358-1370 (1979-1991)
Calendar Iranian - persian
Value 500 Afghanis (500 AFA)
Currency First afghani (1925-2003)
Composition Paper
Size 151 × 65 mm
Shape Rectangular
Number N# 202088
References P# 60

Buzkashi (Pashto/Persian: بزکشی‎, lit. 'goat pulling') is a Central Asian sport in which horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal.

Buzkashi is the national sport and a "passion" in Afghanistan where it is often played on Fridays and matches draw thousands of fans. Whitney Azoy notes in his book Buzkashi: Game and Power in Afghanistan that "leaders are men who can seize control by means foul and fair and then fight off their rivals. The Buzkashi rider does the same". Traditionally, games could last for several days, but in its more regulated tournament version, it has a limited match time.

Rules and variations
Competition is typically fierce. Prior to the establishment of official rules by the Afghan Olympic Federation, the sport was mainly conducted based upon rules such as not whipping a fellow rider intentionally or deliberately knocking him off his horse. Riders usually wear heavy clothing and head protection to protect themselves against other players' whips and boots. For example, riders in the former Soviet Union often wear salvaged Soviet tank helmets for protection. The boots usually have high heels that lock into the saddle of the horse to help the rider lean on the side of the horse while trying to pick up the goat. Games can last for several days, and the winning team receives a prize, not necessarily money, as a reward for their win. Top players, such as Aziz Ahmad, are often sponsored by wealthy Afghans.

A buzkashi player is called a Chapandaz; it is mainly believed in Afghanistan that a skilful Chapandaz is usually in his forties. This is based on the fact that the nature of the game requires its player to undergo severe physical practice and observation. Similarly, horses used in buzkashi also undergo severe training and due attention. A player does not necessarily own the horse. Horses are usually owned by landlords and highly rich people wealthy enough to look after and provide training facilities for such horses. However, a master Chapandaz can choose to select any horse and the owner of the horse usually wants his horse to be ridden by a master Chapandaz as a winning horse also brings pride to the owner.

The game consists of two main forms: Tudabarai and Qarajai. Tudabarai is considered to be the simpler form of the game. In this version, the goal is simply to grab the goat and move in any direction until clear of the other players. In Qarajai, players must carry the carcass around a flag or marker at one end of the field, then throw it into a scoring circle (the "Circle of Justice") at the other end. The riders will carry a whip to fend off opposing horses and riders. When not in use - e.g. because the rider needs both hands to steer the horse and secure the carcass - the whip is typically carried in the teeth.

The calf in a buzkashi game is normally beheaded and disembowelled and has 2 limbs cut off. It is then soaked in cold water for 24 hours before play to toughen it. Occasionally sand is packed into the carcass to give it extra weight. Though a goat is used when no calf is available, a calf is less likely to disintegrate during the game. While players may not strap the calf to their bodies or saddles, it is acceptable - and common practice - to wedge the calf under one leg in order to free up the hands.

These rules are strictly observed only for contests in Kabul:
The ground has a square layout with each sidelong.
Each team consists of 10 riders.
Only five riders from each team can play in a half.
The total duration of each half is 45 minutes.
There is only one 15 minute break between the two halves.
The game is supervised by a referee.

In books and film adaptations
Buzkashi is portrayed in several books, both fiction and non-fiction. It is shown in Steve Berry's book The Venetian Betrayal, and it is briefly mentioned in the Khaled Hosseini book The Kite Runner. Buzkashi was the subject of a book called Horsemen of Afghanistan by French photojournalists Roland and Sabrina Michaud. Gino Strada wrote a book named after the sport (with the spelling Buskashì) in which he tells about his life as surgeon in Kabul in the days after the 9-11 strikes. P.J. O'Rourke also mentions the game in discussions about Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Foreign Policy section of Parliament of Whores, and Rory Stewart devotes a few sentences to it in "The Places in Between".

Two books have been written about buzkashi which were later turned into films. The game is the subject of a novel by French novelist Joseph Kessel titled Les Cavaliers (aka Horsemen), which then became the basis of the film The Horsemen (1971). The film was directed by John Frankenheimer with Omar Sharif in the lead role, and U.S. actor and accomplished horseman Jack Palance as his father, a legendary retired chapandaz. This film shows Afghanistan and its people the way they were before the wars that wracked the country, particularly their love for the sport of buzkashi.

The game is also a key element in the book Caravans by James Michener and the film of the same name (1978) starring Anthony Quinn. A scene from the film featuring the king of Afghanistan watching a game included the real-life king at the time, Mohammed Zahir Shah. The whole sequence of the game being witnessed by the king was filmed on the Kabul Golf Course, where the national championships were played at the time the film was made.

In Ken Follett's book, Lie Down with Lions (1986), the game is mentioned being played, but instead of a goat, they used a live Russian soldier.


Bala Hissar (lit. 'High Fort') is an ancient fortress located in the south of the old city of Kabul, Afghanistan. The estimated date of construction is around the 5th century AD. Bala Hissar sits to the south of the modern city centre at the tail end of the Kuh-e-Sherdarwaza Mountain. The Walls of Kabul, which are 20 feet (6.1 m) high and 12 feet (3.7 m) thick, start at the fortress and follow the mountain ridge in a sweeping curve down to the river. It sports a set of gates for access to the fortress. The Kōh-e Shēr Darwāzah (lion door) mountain is behind the fort.

Bala Hissar was originally divided into two parts: The lower fortress, containing the stables, barracks and three royal palaces, and the upper fortress (the actual fort with the name Bala Hissar) housing the armory and the dungeon of Kabul, known as the "Black Pit" (the Siyah Chal).

View full details

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews

Came in very well packaged and with a nice note

Shannon Smith
5 stars review from Shannon

5 stars review from Shannon

Brother T
I highly recommend Elemintal for its wide...

I highly recommend Elemintal for its wide variety of currency in perfect condition and in protective cases, for fast shipping and for low prices. Among many other great deals, I just received a mint 500 afghanis banknote from Afghanistan. It depicts Buzkashi Horsemen on the obverse and Bala Hissar Fortress on the reverse. A lovely bill!

Fascinating notes, very beautiful and came...

Fascinating notes, very beautiful and came promptly.