Lattice woodwork panels
Jali Woodwork by Graduates of the Turquoise Mountain Institute, October 2012. ©

Tina Hager

We are pleased to award the Preserving Afghan Heritage project £2,497,198

This project focusses on the protection of built heritage and intangible craft skills in Kabul's Old City Murad Khani.

With the aim of regenerating the area in a holistic manner, the project involves various strands, including training in traditional skills, nurturing creative entrepreneurs, raising awareness of cultural heritage and restoration and other capital works. 

The last remaining part of Kabul's old city

Dating back to the 18th century, Murad Khani is the last remaining part of the old city of Kabul. Featuring a closed network of streets, domestic courtyard houses, a traditional silver bazaar and religious buildings, the area is known for senj construction (wood-frame walls filled with mud), and other traditional arts and crafts such as woodworking, ceramics, jewellery, textile-weaving and miniature painting. 

The area was due to be demolished before 2008, when it was added to the World Monument Fund's Watch List. Since then the Turquoise Mountain Trust have led the restoration process, saving historic built fabric from destruction, and cleaning large amounts of rubbish from the streets and surrounding areas.

Training in traditional skills and nurturing creative entrepreneurs

Turquoise Mountain Trust are dedicated to restoring the area in a holistic way, training over 1350 in traditional skills and nurturing creative entrepreneurs in the process.

Restoration will be completed using traditional methods and materials, with the sites becoming live training projects for local craftsmen and labourers. The project will focus on promoting and preserving traditional craft and design, with a training programme designed to support artisans in creating and marketing goods internationally. Furthermore, there will be a focus on the engagement of women in the area, providing access to the design centre; inducting them into the cultural workforce and encouraging engagement in higher education courses.

There is an emphasis on both tangible and intangible heritage, with recordings and a catalogue of resources being produced and shared online for the wider public to access. There is also the aim to host visitors on site, promoting the heritage of the area and educating them on traditional construction and craft. 

Pavement work in Murad Khani after electrical and sanitary installation, 2011. ©

Turquoise Mountain

About Turquoise Mountain Trust

Turquoise Mountain Trust was established in 2006 at the behest of HRH The Prince of Wales and the then president of Afghanistan.

Turquoise Mountain's aim is to revive Afghanistan's traditional crafts, and to regenerate Murad Khani, a historic area of Kabul's old city known for its rich cultural heritage.