In 1981, the Lahore Fort precinct and its 21 surviving monuments were inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Surrounded by an inner fortification wall encircling approximately 19.5 hectares of royal structures and formal gardens, the Fort was largely built and developed in its current configuration between 1556 and 1707 by four Mughal emperors – Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb – after which it was extensively modified during the Sikh and British periods.
The Lahore Fort Picture Wall is one of the principal features of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about 460 meters (1,510 feet) long, with an average height of 16 meters (50 feet) and forms the northern and western façade of the Lahore Fort. Together with the Shah Burj Gate (Hathi Pol), the Picture Wall forms the original entrance to the Fort. Built approximately 400 years ago; it is among some of the most exquisite features of the Lahore Fort and is one of the largest murals in the world. Parts of the wall are extensively embellished in cut brickwork, cut glazed tile mosaic work, filigree work and painted lime plaster. The wall consists of an array of exquisitely decorated recessed panels, and the eaves and brackets of pavilions and other roof top structures are carved in sandstone and marble-work inlaid with semi-precious stones.
Starting in September 2015, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and its country affiliate, the Aga Khan Cultural Service-Pakistan, under a number of partnership agreements with the Walled City of Lahore Authority, has been engaged in the conservation of the Lahore Fort. Detailed studies on the Lahore Fort and an extensive documentation of the Picture Wall were generously supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and involved using a 3-D laser scanner and Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) devices, as well as high-resolution ortho-rectified photography coupled together.
After the completion of detailed documentation, a technical review of the challenges pertaining to the conservation of various decorative elements led to the selection of a 10 meter wide and 15 meter high section of the western façade of the wall for prototype conservation, which was to inform the Picture Wall’s conservation principles and methodologies. This commenced in late November 2016 and culminated in an International Workshop held at the Lahore Fort in January 2018.
Greater Lahore and the Walled City. In Lahore: A Framework for Urban Conservation, edited by Philip Jodidio, 32-91. Munich: Prestel, 2019.
This first part "Greater Lahore and the Walled City" contains four sections:
Khan, Masood. "Lahore: The City in History". Lahore: A Framework for Urban Conservation, edited by Philip Jodidio, 35-52. Munich: Prestel, 2019.
This section presents the history of Lahore, an important city of the Islamic world, from early archaeological past to the grandeur of the Mughal emperors in the context of the Walled City and the Lahore Fort.
Khan, Masood. "Lahore's Walled City". Lahore: A Framework for Urban Conservation, edited by Philip Jodidio, 53-60. Munich: Prestel, 2019.
An area of high-density urban fabric in the north-western part of Lahore, the Walled City is at the core of the cultural and economic energies of Lahore. This historic fabric is home to many monumental artefacts, large and small mosques, temples, squares and gates. However, the Walled City has many challenges. Demographics have fallen from a Mughal city of 500,000 inhabitants reduced in a hundred years to just 50,000 people. Access to and arrival at the Walled City continues to be problematic due to chaotic and heavy traffic and difficulty of finding adequate parking space.
Khan, Masood. "The Architectural Heritage of Lahore". Lahore: A Framework for Urban Conservation, edited by Philip Jodidio, 61-72. Munich: Prestel, 2019.
An analysis of the architectural heritage of Lahore runs chronologically in the period before Islam to the predominant historic Muslim-period architecture belonging to the period of the first six Mughal emperors (1526 to 1707), making of the city a pre-eminently Mughal city. Many gardens were also built on the left bank of the Ravi River, which the most significant is the famed Shalimar. After presenting the Sikh developments, the description finally pays tribute to the early British period.
Dar, Saifur Rahman. "Mughal Gardens in Lahore: A Historical Perspective". Lahore: A Framework for Urban Conservation, edited by Philip Jodidio, 73-91. Munich: Prestel, 2019.
The remaining Mughal gardens in Lahore are poignant reminders of a brilliant era of building gardens with characteristics attributed to a single dynasty. Hailing from Central Asia, the Mughals and the nobility of their courts who built these gardens combined the Central Asian/Timurid, Iranian and Indian garden traditions. Among all the gardens of Lahore, Shalimar Garden, a walled and terraced garden, is by far the most refined and complete Mughal garden that has survived.