Legendary and real places

Gandhara is the name of a historical region covering present-day northwest Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. While it originally designated the expanse of the Peshawar Basin, the name ‘Ghandara’ or ‘Greater Ghandara’ is used today to describe a wider geographical area that comprises several regions with a common political and cultural history. Between the fifth century BCE and the sixth century CE, Gandhara was successively invaded by different peoples (Achaemenids, Greeks, Scythians, Parthians, Kushans, Sassanians, Huns). Its rich religious and cultural history is reflected in the region’s material culture. The Buddhist sculptures created during the Kushan era (first to third century) are a typical example of this development.