Historic Cities Support Programme (Formerly known as)
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.
While the Alam Qandahari house is said to have been built in around 1865, its present form seems to date from the mid-20th century. Access to the house is via a vaulted passage or dalan, with doors to each of the two dwellings that make up the complex. To the east are the family quarters, arranged in the manner of traditional Herati homes of this period; a double-storey range of rooms faces north, for use in the summer, and a south-facing range on a single storey with an arcaded veranda, for use in the winter months. The north-facing elevation of this house is unusual in having extensive glazed tile work, more in the manner of a religious building. All rooms in the dwelling face on to a large courtyard, which is brick paved and has a central pool. The adjoining dwelling, which was used for guests, is more modest in scale and decoration. The house was restored by AKTC during 2007- 2009.