Aga Khan Visual Archive

The Aga Khan Visual Archive (AKVA) is a collection of the Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT Libraries (AKDC@MIT), that consists of over 120,000 slides and digital images of architecture, urbanism, and the built environment of Muslim societies, donated by students and scholars, affiliated with the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT, as well as academics, scholars, cultural institutions, and architects from around the world. The images date from the 1970s through the present, and document historic and contemporary sites in the Islamic world, many of which are not documented elsewhere or have changed significantly since their documentation, either through restoration, renovation, or even destruction.

The collection began with the foundation of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT and Harvard, and the concurrent establishment of a documentation center to support the research and teaching of its faculty and students. Students who received travel fellowships from the Aga Khan Program to conduct research agreed to duplicate their slides and donate the duplicate copies to the documentation center. Professors and visiting scholars also donated slides of monuments they had taken. The librarians of the documentation center also occasionally purchased sets of slides to supplement the scope of the material. The slides served as illustrations for lectures, books, and other educational materials produced by AKDC@MIT, and formed the seed collection for the Archnet Digital Library, the predecessor to the current version of Archnet that was established in its first form in the late 1990s.

Note that only a small representation of the AKVA's contents are currently cataloged on Archnet. In addition to this collection, further selections from the archive can be found at MIT Libraries' digital collections site, Dome. AKDC staff are currently working to add more material from this archive to the material on Archnet.

As is the case for all images on Archnet, material from the Aga Khan Visual Archive is freely available for research or educational use. Copyright varies, so for information about reproduction for publication, please contact the Aga Khan Documentation Center at




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