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.
This residential palace was built by Amir Abdur Rahman Khan (1880-1901) in the southeast corner of Bagh-e Babur. It was bequeathed to his third wife Bibi Halima after his death, and is now known as the Queen's Palace.
The main reception rooms of the palace are accessed from an open verandah running around three sides of a central courtyard, which afford fine views of the garden below. Adjoining the perimeter wall of the garden on two sides, the palace has two arched entrances to the north, one of which is designed for carriages. In the southern wing is a small brick-domed hammam, which retains its internal plaster decoration. The main structure was load-bearing mud brick; the pitched roof was supported on a timber structure that included the verandah.
The palace was heavily damaged in a fire that consumed its roof and portico during wartime. It was restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture between 2003 and 2006.