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.
Babur's wish, recorded in his memoirs (Baburnama) was that he be buried in a modest grave open to the sky. This wish was fulfilled circa 1544 when his body was moved from Agra, where he had first been buried, to one of his favourite gardens in Kabul. In around 1607, Jahangir commissioned a headstone for the grave, added inscriptions to the adjoining graves of Babur's son and grandson, and had a marble prayer platform (chabutra) erected nearby. The marble enclosure (jali) around Babur's grave, drawn by Charles Masson in 1832, is thought to have been in place when Shah Jahan visited Kabul in 1639; he has a similar enclosure erected around the grave of his great-aunt Ruqia Sultan Begum at this time. The screen around Babur's grave had collapsed by the time of a surviving photograph by John Burke from 1872. The grave was extensively altered during the early 20th century.
The original levels of Babur's grave terrace were restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in 2003/4, and a replica (based on fragments found on the site) of the carved marble grave enclosure erected in 2006. This is a square structure whose elevations are made up of four narrow arched openings containing carved latticework, flanking a taller central arch. The enclosure and grave are on a raised marble plinth, accessed from a central archway to the west. An outer arcaded enclosure wall of brick was also rebuilt in 2006, on the foundations of an earlier structure that was uncovered during archaeological excavations in the grave area.