The profuse architectural decoration is a singular outstanding attribute that places the mosque in the frontline of the major monuments of the world.
LAHORE: The conservation of the northern face of the Wazir Khan Mosque was officially completed yesterday.
The initiative was taken by the Aga Khan Cultural Service, Pakistan (AKCSP) while the project was financed by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and facilitated by the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA).
A plaque was unveiled by Norwegian Ambassador Mr Tore Nedrebo and DG WCLA Mr Kamran Lashari, in the presence of CEO AKCSP Mr Salman Beg, members of the Wazir Khan Mosque Committee, as well as representatives of the conservation team that worked on the various phases of the project from July 2014 – June 2016.
On the occasion, WCLA Director-General Kamran Lashari said the rehabilitation of the northern façade and the adaptive reuse of its hujras for the sale of traditional handicrafts will highlight the rich Mughal heritage of the Wazir Khan Mosque. It will also form a template for the conservation of the entire mosque when the latter is put into effect.
“The completion of this project comes at the heels of the Unesco award-winning success of the Shahi Hammam conservation project, and foreshadows the completion of the on-going conservation of the US-funded Chowk Wazir Khan,” he said.
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Kotwali Bazaar, looking west along the north facade of the Wazir Khan Mosque, Walled City of Lahore, Pakistan.AKDN / Christian Richters
Walled city of Lahore conservation
Lahore, the capital of the province of Punjab, and the second most populous city in Pakistan, is also known as the “Gardens of the Mughals” or “City of Gardens”, after the rich heritage of the Mughal Empire (1524 to 1752). This once fortified city has a concentration of monuments and buildings that reflect cultural diversity in architecture, and despite a dynamic and tumultuous past spanning several centuries has retained much of its historic urban form. Upon the completion of the Shigar Fort project in 2005, the Government of Pakistan requested the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) to make technical contributions to a World Bank funded area development “pilot” Shahi Guzargah (Royal Trail) project in the Walled city of Lahore. The Walled city of Lahore is famous for several historic monuments including the Lahore Fort – a World Heritage site, the Badshahi and Wazir Khan mosques. Close to 2,000 buildings within the Walled city display a range of architectural features that mark Lahore’s centuries old cultural landscape. A majority of these buildings and the mohallas (local neighbourhoods) in which they are situated form a unique heritage footprint. The work consequently carried out by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (AKHCP) was initiated under a 2007 public-private partnership framework agreement with the Government of Punjab. The first phase of the project, completed in 2014, comprised of the design and improvement of infrastructure services and the documentation of major Mughal period monuments. An important social and economic dimension aimed at poverty alleviation and the creation of economic opportunities for local residents was facilitated through participation in the projects.
The area of the ongoing project comprises some 11 per cent of the 256 hectares of the Walled city. The technical engagement of the AKTC continues currently on the basis of a MOU and the AKTC assistance programme is likely to continue in the foreseeable future.
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