Breathing new life into the legacy of past civilisations calls for a creativity, imagination, tolerance, understanding, and wisdom well beyond the ordinary. The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (AKHCP), established in 1992, implements conservation, urban revitalization and area development projects in historically significant sites of the Islamic world undertaking the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures and public spaces in ways that spur social, economic and cultural development. Its projects seek to mobilize local potential and resources in order to ensure their eventual self-sustainability through operational income, human resource development and institutional management capabilities. Through this integrated approach, the Programme seeks to demonstrate that strengthening cultural identity can go hand in hand with socio-economic progress.
Going beyond mere restoration of monuments, the Programme engages in activities related to adaptive re-use, contextual urban planning and the improvement of housing, infrastructure and public spaces. It carries out related socio-economic development initiatives directed at upgrading local living conditions and improving quality of life.
Investments in single project locations or regions are coordinated with other Aga Khan Development Network programmes so that they reinforce each other as they grow together into a critical mass for positive change. In all project locations, community participation and training of local professionals are essential components.
Aga Khan Cultural Services - Pakistan. "Preface" in Conservation of the Wazir Khan Mosque Lahore: Preliminary Report on Condition and Risk Assessment. Lahore, Pakistan. Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, 2012.
The spectacular monumental ensemble of the Wazir Khan Mosque in the Walled City of Lahore was built in 1634 during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Its endowment then comprised the congregational mosque, an elaborate forecourt, a serai, a hammam, a bazaar, and a special bazaar for calligraphers and bookbinders. The mosque, the calligraphers’ bazaar, and the hammam still stand,while the other elements have disappeared—victims to Lahore’s turbulent history over nearly four centuries since the original dedication. What remains is increasingly in need of care and attention.
Over a two year period starting in 2009, the Historic Cities Programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, through the Aga Khan Cultural Service - Pakistan, conducted a baseline documentation of the monument and its surrounding areas. This volume contains the result of this work and presents an assessment of the organisational, technical and financial requirements for the conservation of the mosque as well as the revitalisation and enhancement of its surrounding context.
The Trust has been actively engaged with the Punjab Government in the conservation of the urban fabric of the Walled City of Lahore and has, since 2007, collaborated in urban rehabilitation and infrastructure improvement efforts in the neighbourhood of the monument.