The rehabilitation of
the landscaping surrounding the Khwaja Parsa Shrine at the centre of Balkh focused on
providing safe access and improved services and facilities for the public. In
order to facilitate better access to the park new pathways and stairs were laid
using brick masonry and, where appropriate, existing pathways were improved and
made ready for use by large numbers of people. Laborers cleared debris from the
site, leveled and graded the earth by hand, before laying 12,000 square meters of
brick pathways using lime-mortar base and over 780,000 locally produced bricks.
In warmer months, weekly markets selling food, spices, and used trinkets are
located within the park and this itinerant commercial use of the site required
the upgrading and paving of dedicated areas within the park, allocating fixed
hard-surfaces for use by large numbers of people in order to avoid damage to
trees and plants. The area around the remains of the Subhan Qoli Madrassa Gate
was paved and the once neglected monument was transformed as the main gateway
into the park.
The natural landscape
was enhanced through the removal of 800m3 of and the clearing of silt deposits
from 2000 linear-meters of surface channels, improving the existing gravity-fed
irrigation system distributing water to trees, plants and bushes. As part of
the landscaping works, more than 700 invasive species of plants and trees were
removed and the site was replanted with more than 1200 trees and flowers
consisting of indigenous species widely available in the local nurseries such
as cypresses, plane trees and roses. A small on-site nursery was established in
order to propagate the planting of additional trees in the future.
The upgrading and
improvement of more than 580 linear-meters of walling at the perimeter of the
garden, which included the construction of structural brick piers and the
fabrication of metal railings greatly improved the overall security of the
site, making it possible to use the park in the evenings in the future.