Historic Cities Programme
In Afghanistan, a range of conservation efforts, living conditions improvements, community development programmes and neighbourhood planning initiatives have been implemented in several neighbourhoods of the war-damaged old city of Kabul. For more information, please see the Kabul and Herat area Development Projects
In Mostar (Bosnia), projects revolve around the historic neighbourhoods adjacent to the famous Old Bridge and the restoration of a number of key monuments destroyed during the civil war. Within the framework of a complete master plan for the old city, some key historic buildings and open spaces have been restored in close cooperation with the local authorities and residents, reclaiming the unique character of this multicultural city. For more information, please see: Conservation and Revitalisation of Historic Mostar (PDF, 3MB).
In the old city of Cairo, activities started with the reconversion of a vast barren site (a hilly rubble-dump between the Fatimid city and the Mamluk cemetery) into a 30 hectare urban park with many visitors' facilities. This major open space not only brings relief to the dense metropolitan agglomeration, but has helped transform the image of the adjacent old city and mobilise resources for its rehabilitation. As part of the grading effort on the park slopes, 1.5 kms of the formerly buried 12th century city wall were brought to light and partly restored. Near the wall and inside the district of Darb al-Ahmar, several mosques, old palaces and historic houses are being restored in an effort to revitalise the existing architectural heritage and make it useful for the local community as well as visitors. In conjunction with these physical upgrading and adaptive re-use projects, a wide range of socio-economic initiatives have been launched to provide residents with new opportunities, including training, employment, micro-credits for small enterprises, health centres, and women’s associations. See Al-Azhar Park pages and Virtual Tour page.
The restoration of the gardens of Humayun's Tomb in Delhi was the first privately funded restoration of a World Heritage Site in India. Completed in March 2003 through the joint efforts of the Trust and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the aegis of the National Culture Fund, the objective of the project was to revitalise the gardens, pathways, fountains and water channels of the chahâr-bâgh, or four part paradise garden surrounding Humayun’s Tomb, according to the original plans of the builders. For more information, please see The Revitalisation of the Gardens of Emperor Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, India (Brief, 200KB, PDF) and web page.
The restoration of the Great Mosque of Mopti, in Mali, was undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture between 2004 and 2006. The Mosque, commonly called the Mosque of Komoguel, was at risk of collapse. The first phase of the work focused on repairing the roof and stabilising the upper part of the building, which had been damaged by the inappropriate use of cement in a previous restoration effort in 1978. Since November 2004, local masons have been working under the direction of the Trust to remove the cement layer and replace damaged areas with traditional mortar and bricks, which are made by mixing earth with rice chaff. For more information, please see the Earthen Architecture Programme page and the Press Release.
In the Northern Areas of Pakistan, projects include the restoration of several forts (such as Baltit and Shigar) and other landmark buildings in conjunction with rehabilitation of traditional settlements, as well as promotion of traditional crafts and construction techniques. Preserving local identity and at the same time introducing contemporary living standards is the key to the ongoing cultural development process, which is undertaken with the active involvement of the local population. Environmental planning strategies to preserve specific assets are now being implemented through new local institutions such as Town Management Societies and Cultural Heritage Trusts. These projects have won a number of awards, including UNESCO World Heritage awards British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. For more information, please see Conservation and Development in Hunza and Baltistan (PDF, 4MB), Shigar Fort page and Hunza & Baltistan page.
In Syria, the Directorate of Antiquities requested HCP to provide technical assistance and training for the conservation and management of three major citadels in Aleppo, Masyaf and Qalat Salah ed-Din. This ongoing work is now being complemented by environmental studies aimed at managing and enhancing the surroundings of the three Forts, two of them being located within an urban context, and one in a pristine natural setting. For more information, please see A Brief Account of Project Activities in Syria (PDF, 5MB).
The town of Khorog is the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region in Tajikistan and is situated 2,100 metres above sea level in the heart of the Pamir Mountains near the border with Afghanistan. The development of Khorog City Park and its surrounding urban environment contributes a significant public green space to the city. It was gifted to His Highness the Aga Khan on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of his Imamat, and, since 2003, it has been the focus of a rehabilitation project designed to offer visitors the possibility to reflect, relax and enjoy nature. Find out more on Khorog City Park Rehabilitation and Development.
In Samarkand, HCP has assisted the Municipality in preparing a new master plan for the Timurid city, including urban design proposals for the revitalis-ation of both the historic and the modern city centre. In addition, a number of pilot projects have been carried out in cooperation with local residents, to demonstrate how the residential neighbourhoods can be upgraded without need for wholesale demolition and inappropriate redevelopment. For more information, please see Planning for the Historic City of Samarkand.
In Zanzibar, HCP has completed the restoration of the former "Old Dispensary", the "Old Customs House" and the conversion of the former Extelcom building, all empty landmark buildings on the waterfront now being put to new uses. In parallel, a conservation plan for the Old Stone Town has been prepared in cooperation with the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority. A number of community-based housing improvement projects are being carried out to demonstrate the feasibility of traditional low-cost repair and maintenance techniques. A new urban design plan and an economic strategy are currently being prepared for the rehabilitation of the complete historic waterfront as a significant civic open space which, once enhanced, would spark further rehabilitation efforts in the Old Stone Town. For more information, please see the brochure Zanzibar Stone Town Projects (PDF, 3.5 MB) or view the Zanzibar Stone Town Projects web pages.
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