Ashiqan wa Arifan

10 May 2007 / 20 Saur 1386

Our fourth field trip was to Ashiqan wa Arifan, one of the oldest existing neighborhoods in Kabul. I took the class there on our fourth field trip, to see conservation, restoration, and the role of historic urban fabric for urban identity.

Entry street
Entry street in to Ashiqan wa Arifan neighborhood
Open area
Reconstruction raising dust
old wall Mosque door
Older, timber-laced construction Entry to mosque. Note the post inside.
Courtyard facade detail of facade
Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) has restored this house. Most of the facade is carved cedar (archeh).
room interior jalsiya screen
The upstairs has a central room divided from end-rooms by screens. Rather than closets, niches are built into the walls.
mosque courtyard balcony assembly
Courtyard of the mosque of the Uzbeks (masjid-e Uzbekha). Poplar (chenar) is used for most posts and beams.
entering prayer hall glazed back wall
The caretaker of the mosque. The enclosing windows are a 20th-century addition.
describing remodeling diagonal view
Engineer Habib describing AKTC’s restoration-decisions here. The mihrab of the mosque has a clock rather like Saint Gregory’s.
mihrab and minbar detail
The minbar, on the right, is built into the wall. People who often come to pray leave their prayer rugs in the mosque. Mud-plaster finish has been restored on the right; but painted wood has been left as is.
street stair
A repaired street, outside another restored house.
The students discuss materials and choices made.
The combination of wood and plaster is
reminiscent of historic Japanese houses.
cornice details M. Nazir
Mud-plaster detail work is often quite delicate. Muhammad Nazir was born in this neighborhood.
Nawin and worker happy Nawin
Nawin discusses restoration with the carpenter. Nawin likes this house.
cantilever sar-e sarak
This restored street reminds me of Fes. You can build out over the street if your neighbor
agrees to it; but you must build the supports.
covered drain street scene
Drains run down the middle of the street.
These covers allow easy clean-out.
The beams and braced frames of overhanging floors create wonderful forms and shadows.


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