Afghanistan - Following the 2005 Best of Asia award for restoration of the Baltit Fort in Hunza, Pakistan (the Fort graced the cover of TIME Asia), the Aga Khan Trust for Culture has now been awarded another Best of Asia award for its restoration of Babur's Gardens in Kabul, Afghanistan.
From the citation: "When the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, in collaboration with the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, began to restore the gardens in 2002, they decided to honor Babur's original instructions. His grave now lies open to the sky, encircled by a delicate, carved marble screen and surrounded by fruit trees full of songbirds. The rest of the 4.5-hectare garden, which once served as a temporary refuge for civilians displaced by war, has been returned to its former glory. The complex system of water canals that channel rainfall from the surrounding hills has been rebuilt, turning the sere hillside into a verdant oasis. Graceful saplings have replaced the great chinar trees that were felled for firewood, and the fountains burble once again with clean water. There are even plans to turn the elegant European pavilion built by Amir Abdur Rahman Khan in the late 1800s into a restaurant. On Fridays, the start of the Muslim weekend, the gardens are thronged with picnicking families who come to enjoy classical concerts much like the performances that enhanced the former Emperor's idylls. Finally, one can see why Babur wanted this to be his last resting place."