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Old November 6th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #21
rahim.katchi
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The Shigar Fort Residence

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Old November 6th, 2010, 04:51 PM   #22
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The Shigar Fort Residence

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Old November 6th, 2010, 05:01 PM   #23
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The Shigar Fort Residence

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Old November 6th, 2010, 05:10 PM   #24
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The Shigar Fort Residence

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Old November 6th, 2010, 05:14 PM   #25
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The Shigar Fort Residence

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Old November 6th, 2010, 05:21 PM   #26
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Amburiq Mosque Restoration

The fifteenth century Amburiq Mosque was restored to demonstrate that conservation of badly damaged monuments was feasible.

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Old November 6th, 2010, 05:48 PM   #27
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The Shigar Fort Residence

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Old November 6th, 2010, 05:50 PM   #28
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The Shigar Fort Residence

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Old November 6th, 2010, 05:59 PM   #29
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Amburiq Mosque Restoration

The mosque contains a prayer hall with one central columns supporting a beam running along north south resting on two pile sterns on either side with capitals an east sided verandah with a passage for the entrance of the main prayer hall, west sided wall contains the mehrab and two carved windows located on the east side each carved in timber frame. This mosque was built by the Kashmiri craftsmen who came along the Syed Ali Hamdani. The building is built on loose soil with shallow foundation therefore it tilted on the west side after witnessing a heavy jolt of earthquake about 90 years ago, which was stabilized during the restoration of the building in 1998. The walls are constructed with wood and filled with stone. The ratio of infill stones is from 15 to 20 %, remaining 75 to 80 % is the wood used in the walls of the mosque.

The mosque has a double layered roof structure. The base roof is flat in shape is completely built by Juniper wood. The top roof gabbled which has the Tibetan tower on top. The exposed timber elements are profusely carved in motives borrowed from Tibetan Kashmiri and Moghal.


The mosque is the only historical religious building still in use in the Northern areas of Pakistan with its majestic appearance possessing rich carved motives and strong structural elements. It was restored in 1998; the local community contributed labor, while NORAD contributed funds for material purchase and the AKCSP/ AKTC provided technical expertise. The mosque is being maintained by the Amburiq settlement committee."


Location: Shigar, Pakistan
Architect/Planner: Aga Khan Cultural Services - Pakistan (AKCS-P)
Architect/Planner: Historic Cities Support Programme (HCSP)
Date: 14th c., restored 1998
Building Type: religious
Building Usage: mosque


Source: Taken from Northern Areas Development Gateway Website.
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Old November 6th, 2010, 06:01 PM   #30
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Amburiq Mosque Restoration

The Amburiq Mosque, the first mosque built in Baltistan, received a UNESCO 2005 Asia Pacific Heritage Conservation Award of Merit. The project was praised for its "sensitive conservation programme which was undertaken by the Aga Khan Cultural Services of Pakistan. The building and its courtyard have now been returned to modern use as a community museum, giving renewed life to one of the region’s historically and socially significant structures".









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Old November 6th, 2010, 06:08 PM   #31
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Khilingrong Mosque Restoration

Location: Shigar, Pakistan
Architect/Planner: Aga Khan Cultural Services - Pakistan (AKCS-P)
Architect/Planner: Historic Cities Support Programme (HCSP)
Date restored: 2000s
Building Type: religious
Building Usage: mosque














Source: ArchNet
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Old November 6th, 2010, 06:11 PM   #32
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Sayyed Mohammad Astana Restoration

Variant Names: Sayyid Muhammad Astana, Sayed Mohamed Shrine
Location: Khaplu, Pakistan
Architect/Planner: Aga Khan Cultural Services - Pakistan (AKCS-P)
Architect/Planner: Historic Cities Support Programme (HCSP)
Date restored: 2000s
Building Type: religious
Building Usage: shrine











Source: ArchNet
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Old November 7th, 2010, 07:54 AM   #33
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Shigar Fort and Palace Restoration

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Old November 7th, 2010, 07:56 AM   #34
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Shigar Fort and Palace Restoration

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Old November 7th, 2010, 07:56 AM   #35
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Shigar Fort and Palace Restoration

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Old November 7th, 2010, 09:09 AM   #36
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The women who would restore a symbol of Hunza’s history









As the nine hundred years old Altit Fort gets completely restored in the year 2010, not only would facade of the ancient fort have changed in the middle of Hunza valley, a deeper social change would also have taken roots in terms of perceptions regarding gender roles in the society.

Traditionally labour of the the female folk of Hunza was limited to bringing up children, grazing animal, watering crop fields, collecting wood for fuel, grass for the cattle, or doing other indoor choirs, as allowed by the society. However, with the passage of time the women of Hunza adopted other roles entering other mainstream professions, like teaching, medicine, politics, social development and, recently, the armed forces. This was made possible by the education system introduced by His Highness the Aga Khan, through AKDN.

Now, the women of Hunza have taken yet another step towards social emancipation.

Seventy percent of the total people working on restoration of the fort are trained female skilled workers. Female electricians, carpenters, masons and plumbers restoring the Altit fort are making history by venturing into new areas of opportunity and expression, hitherto considered forbidden for the “fair” sex.

This is a welcome change as far as economic, psychological and social independence of the women of Hunza is concerned.

The restoration project is undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The trust has trained and employed a large number of women of Hunza, creating new opportunities of earning livelihood for half of the population, while also breaking taboos that limited choices for the women to a selected number of gender roles, as determined by a patriarchical society.

It is, now, also important to further work for objective sensitization of the society at large regarding the changed gender roles and their implications. One major negative implication can be lesser work available for the men who used to perform such tasks in the past. This might frustrate a segment of the society, no matter how small.

What is required is a holistic, inclusive, strategic planfor balanced social development where the emancipation of one segment of the society does not shrink choices for the other, neutralizing the impact of change. This is vital for maintaining social harmony and family life, in a changed and charged social environment.

Men of Hunza have, logically, been supportive of the processes that have led to creation of the society that we have today. What they need to further understand is that when the social roles are changed, rules of the game of social life also change, by default. They will have to learn to live and compete in a beautifully different and a meritocratic society.

http://pamirtimes.net/2009/09/21/fea...unzas-history/
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Old November 7th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #37
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AKTC Receives UNESCO Award of Distinction for Community-based Restoration in Pakistan

Skardu, Pakistan, 7 October 2010 - The Gulabpur Khanqah in Shigar valley, Skardu, Baltistan, was recently awarded the 2010 Asia-Pacific Award of Distinction in Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. For nine consecutive times, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) has won a UNESCO Asia Pacific Cultural Heritage Award for its conservation efforts in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan province. Among earlier awards, AKTC received commendations for its restoration of Baltit Fort in Hunza and Shigar Fort in Baltistan.

A total of 33 entries, from 14 countries in the region, were submitted for consideration. The conservation project entries included museums, hotels, cultural institutions, educational institutions, religious sites, industrial sites, public institutions, residential buildings, urban districts and islands.

AKTC’s restoration efforts are predicated on community participation. From 2008 to 2009 the conservation and rehabilitation of the Gulabpur Khanqah was carried out by the Gulabpur community, which contributed around 40 percent of total costs in cash and kind, with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture providing technical advice. Financial assistance was provided by the German Embassy in Islamabad.

The conservation project of Gulabpur Khanqah -- a mosque with meditation chambers -- has saved a unique historic monument which has long served as a centre of social, cultural and religious activities for the surrounding communities. The project demonstrates the inclusion of yet another building type in the grassroots conservation movement already active in Shigar province.

“A great sense of commitment was demonstrated by the Gulabpur community, which makes the project an exemplar of community-led architectural restoration undertaken with a view toward sustaining living cultural traditions,” said Salman Beg, the Chief Executive Officer of the Aga Khan Cultural Service in Pakistan upon receiving the award.

The 331 year old Gulabpur Khanqah in Gulabpur village is sited on the western bank of the Shigar River about 10 kilometres upstream from where the Shigar and Indus rivers meet. The monument is accessible through the link road of Arandu valley, which is the main tourist attraction due to the proximity of Chago Lungma Glacier and the Golden Peak. The Khanqah displays typical architectural features of Baltistan, such as the double roof with the classical Tibetan tower. The building is characterised by cribbage walls, as well as impressive wooden pillars and a painted wooden ceiling inside the prayer hall.

In the Northern Areas of Pakistan (now Gilgit-Baltistan), AKTC activities are focused on the high valleys of Hunza and Baltistan, in the Karakoram range. This whole area, which was once a part of the old Central Asian Silk Route, was inaccessible to vehicular traffic until the construction of the Karakoram Highway in 1978. Increased accessibility, coupled with the impact of tourism, has induced a rapid transformation of local customs and economic patterns, which calls for new strategic development visions and adapted procedures capable of steering ongoing rapid change. AKTC’s experience in these areas has clearly indicated that meaningful restoration works need to be associated with the ongoing rehabilitation of traditional settlements as well as the promotion of building techniques.

For more information, please contact:

Salimah Shiraj
Communications Coordinator
Aga Khan Development Network
Telephone: + 92 21 35861242
Fax: +92 21 35861272
Cell: +92 300-8218592

www.akdn.org
















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Old November 7th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #38
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Great pictures. Aga Khan trust does amazing work.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 09:51 AM   #39
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Old November 10th, 2010, 10:31 AM   #40
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Karakoram: Hidden Treasures in the Northern Areas of Pakistan,

Introduction: Reclaiming the Cultural Heritage of the Northern Areas as Part of an Integrated Development Process
STEFANO BIANCA, DIRECTOR, HISTORIC CITIES SUPPORT PROGRAMME

Hunza and Baltistan, two high valleys located at an altitude of over two thousand metres in the upper catchment area of the River Indus and deep within the Karakoram mountain range, abound with spectacular treasures of nature: eight-thousand-metre-high mountain peaks such as the Rakaposhi and K2, endless glaciers, rare flora and fauna, as well as carefully terraced agricultural fields and ingenious irrigation techniques which demonstrate how man can make the best use of nature under harsh living conditions. While overall the mountain desert prevails, selected spots have almost miraculously taken on the character of lush oases and cultivated garden-orchards, as the result of centuries of human effort.

Since time immemorial, human beings have attempted to deal with the indomitable nature of the area, seeking mercy from omnipresent spiritual forces, venerating divine manifestations in a sacred landscape and leaving mysterious marks of their own existence and aspirations – enigmas carved into rocks and boulders which modern scientists are trying to interpret. Later, the cultural power-houses of the wider region – such as the Greco-Buddhist centres of Gandhara and Taxila, the cities of Iran and Transoxania, the dominions of Kashmir, Khotan and Tibet – found ways of communicating and intermingling across the high mountain ranges that stood between them. Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism and various branches of Islam left their successive imprints in the area, often influencing each other. The heritage of the higher Indus and the Hunza valleys preserves many material and non-material traces of this cultural exchange, still entrenched in local building techniques, customs, religious beliefs and oral traditions. In Hunza, for instance, tales about Alexander the Great and his troops – some of whom supposedly remained in the valleys after returning from their Indian adventure – are still part of the ‘living history’ transmitted by the village elders.

Unlikely as it may appear to modern-time observers, glaciers and precarious more than five-thousand metre- high passages between the mountain peaks did not deter holy men and spiritual leaders from spreading their message to areas ‘on the other side’, nor did they prevent whole ethnic groups from important migratory movements – whether of a peaceful or aggressive nature. Neither did the confusing variety of languages discourage people of Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Turcoman, Chinese or Tibetan origins from engaging in cultural and commercial exchanges which eventually expanded into the intercontinental framework of the Silk Routes connecting China with Central and South Asia, and from there with the world of Islam and medieval Europe, both centred around the Mediterranean.

The unique blend of nature’s pristine splendour and the wealth of archaic cultural traditions in the Northern Areas aroused the curiosity of early Western travellers, explorers and scientists – an interest which developed in parallel with the growing appetite of the colonial empires, to which the geopolitical importance of the area had not escaped. In the late nineteenth century, Hunza thus became an important arena of the ‘Great Game’ – the power struggle between Russia, China and the British Empire.

More recently, the easy availability of worldwide communication tools and travel facilities has transfigured the once arduous central section of the old Silk Route into a tourist attraction. Modern homo faber, taking for granted the mixed blessings of a hitherto unimaginable technological development, is tempted to access and to consume natural and cultural resources at high speed, and often without much consideration being given to the conditions which have enabled the continuous growth of such treasures. It was not until the late 1970s, however, that the Northern Areas of Pakistan became more widely accessible through the construction of the Karakoram Highway between Islamabad and Kashgar. Within just a few years, the new road exposed the local inhabitants to the full impact of modern Western civilisation – which itself has undergone tremendous changes since the first industrial revolution in the early nineteenth century.

Today’s situation, then, is characterised by the inevitable clash between, on the one hand, an age-old, inward looking mountain society (whose feudal traditions lasted until 1974) and, on the other hand, modern civilisation with the combined impact of its secular governance systems, industrial products, capitalist economy and powerful, omnipresent communication tools. Whenever endangered local traditions are exposed to a new (and often disruptive) type of development, fundamental questions arise, such as: How can the shock resulting from the sudden, compressed impact of modern civilisation be absorbed without destroying intrinsic traditional values and achievements? How can the dynamic forces of ‘progress’ be tamed, adapted and integrated into local customs and living traditions? How can the existing cultural resources and social assets of local communities, rather than being ignored or suppressed, be enhanced to become driving factors of a controlled and fruitful evolution?

The present book has been conceived in response to such questions and deals with them at various levels. Since any intervention must be based on intimate knowledge of the given historic, geographic and cultural context, as well as awareness of precious values and assets, Part I offers seven articles by distinguished scholars which give an insight into the current status of research about the Northern Areas. These contributions are by no means intended to be exhaustive and have no encyclopaedic ambition; rather, they mean to provide, in an almost kaleidoscopic manner, valuable background information from various angles by leading specialists in the domains of history, geography, ethnography, social development, art and architecture. While representing different disciplines, nations and cultural traditions, all writers have in common their knowledge of, and love for, the area, acquired during long field missions. Their articles will also guide the reader towards the rich scientific literature on the subject, as featured in the footnotes and the bibliography at the end of the book.

Part II complements these introductions through a description of a series of actual interventions in the fields of planning, environmental protection, restoration (and adaptive reuse) of historic buildings, rehabilitation of traditional villages, improvement of living conditions, enterprise development and local capacity building. The corresponding projects have all been carried out over the past twelve years by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) through its Historic Cities Support Programme (HCSP). The projects and activities presented do not claim to have definitive answers to the fundamental questions raised above, nor are they based on any specific ideological premises. Nevertheless, they are conscious of the given conditions and respectful of the values at stake. They try to respond in pragmatic manner to perceived needs and opportunities that emerge from a continued dialogue with local communities. In that sense, they act as interesting pilot projects, the long-term benefits of which will have to be carefully monitored.

Indeed, any intervention in such circumstances is experimental by nature, insofar as it is without precedent. Strategies and procedures have to evolve on the basis of continuous feedback from the field, because they apply to an environment which is in full transition, moving rapidly from an ancient rural way of life towards more urban living conditions. Moreover, no such intervention can rely on a ‘static’ framework of given parameters, since the reference points are constantly changing as part of ongoing worldwide development trends.

The underlying changes in social and cultural paradigms may not always be explicit, but constitute important factors in ongoing development trends. Many of the traditional social conventions which used to hold the community together in the past have been weakened over the last few decades. Meanwhile, modern governance tools of a much more abstract nature tend to be substituted for them, but find it hard to be absorbed and internalised by local communities and are hence not fully effective. Accordingly, current planning, development and rehabilitation efforts have had to operate in a sort of ambiguous institutional vacuum. Arising problems have, however, been overcome by drawing on the cooperation, goodwill and insight of the community and its representatives, and this has added a distinctive social quality to the process and its results.

In such a situation of transition and uncertainty, cultural heritage has a particular role to play, since it can inspire the self-confidence, social coherence and emotional stability needed to achieve cultural continuity. This, however, presupposes that local communities are put into a position to view their tradition with new eyes. Instead of taking it for granted, they need to assess it actively in order to retain by conscious choice what is of value – which may also involve an initial detachment. Occasionally, they may need to strip inherited traditions of old, obsolete and even oppressive connotations in order to reclaim their deeper meaning and to reactivate vital energies from within. Outsiders can often help in this process of reclaiming cultural identity, precisely because they are detached enough to discern and appreciate values which those still immersed in old practices may tend to overlook when suddenly confronted with radically new lifestyles and attitudes.

To help release consciousness about the deeper values of a local society’s own tradition thus appears to be a matter of dialogue; but an abstract, theoretical discourse will hardly be effective, particularly when it comes to the crucial interaction between people and their built environment. Tangible projects are needed, which visualise and demonstrate how certain aspects of a contemporary lifestyle can be reconciled with – and incorporated into – traditional patterns of life. While strict conservation principles may apply to unique landmark buildings, the traditional historic fabric must be allowed to evolve and to assimilate modern facilities, such as electricity and sanitation.

To become productive and socially acceptable, conservation must therefore be made an integral part of development and vice versa. This deceptively simple statement is at the very heart of the philosophy of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and its Historic Cities Support Programme and has guided its various interventions in many Islamic countries from 1992 onwards. In this context, the restoration of Baltit fort as a renewed symbol of cultural identity and civic pride served as the springboard for a new type of integrated cultural development project. The restoration effort not only brought employment to the area but also helped justify, revive and adapt ingenious traditional building techniques which are now being replicated by people in the rehabilitation of their own houses. The next logical step was to save the old village of Baltit, beneath the fort, from being abandoned in favour of scattered modern construction in the precious terraced fields around the village. Moving the cattle out from the houses, paving the streets and providing proper sanitation to each house was a negotiated rehabilitation effort which engaged local residents collectively in terms of both thinking and using their own hands. Eventually, the project became a living demonstration of the fact that old cultural traditions and modern technical resources need not be incompatible.

These endeavours, in turn, have motivated the local community, assisted by professionals from the AKTC’s local subsidiary, the Aga Khan Cultural Service-Pakistan (AKCS-P), to reflect about wider strategic development issues – such as extension of existing settlements, locating roads and public facilities, preserving precious agricultural land and the use of unique cultural and natural assets as a basis for sustainable economic development. As a result, a number of land-use plans were drawn up and discussed with the participation of local communities; arising conflicts were brought out and resolved; and the need for conscious anticipatory control mechanisms to be handled by the respective constituencies themselves was put forward. Through this very dialogue, it has been possible to nurture new institutions such as the Karimabad Town Management Society and the Karakoram Area Development Organisation, later followed by the Shigar Town Management Society and the Baltistan Cultural Foundation. The active participation and follow-up provided by these community-based institutions has been and remains essential to the success of the various projects.

Over the past decades, the economy of the Northern Areas has moved from a precarious agricultural subsistence system to increasingly cash-dependent modes of exchange, with a rapidly growing, tourism driven service sector as a major source of income. Although subject to great fluctuations, adventure tourism has become the main motor of economic and physical development in the Northern Areas. Mountaineering expeditions, Far-Eastern visitors flocking to enjoy the apricot blossom and a growing share of culturally interested ‘Silk Route’ tourists have resulted in increasing numbers of visitors (which, however, can drop dramatically in the case of political or religious unrest in the area) and in mushrooming hotel construction in Hunza.

As shown by the fate of cultural sites all over the world, tourism can be an ambiguous agent. On the one hand it can unlock an important socio-economic development potential; on the other hand, if not appropriately managed, it can lead to the progressive devastation of the natural and cultural values which first attracted it and can thus destroy the very assets it is supposed to capitalise on. Given the relatively pristine character and the fragile balance of the environmental systems in the Northern Areas, a special, ecologically oriented and culturally compatible type of tourism needs to be promoted, which respects, appreciates and takes care of existing resources.

The AKTC and its subsidiary AKCS-P are aware of this task and aim to contribute to it in a variety of ways: first, strategic land-use planning assistance is provided to local Town Management Societies; second, an inventory of important landscapes, sites, clusters and single buildings is being drawn up, covering most regions of the Northern Areas; third, special circuits for visitors interested in cultural heritage, in treasures of nature or in traditional crafts are being devised, in conjunction with the nurturing of skilled artists and craftsmen and the promotion of their products; fourth, a number of very special sites have been identified and designed to accommodate quality tourism – individual visitors or small groups – and to enable them to interact sensitively with authentic landscapes, buildings and local communities.

Of paramount importance in this context is the completed restoration of Shigar fort/palace, which is being celebrated by the publication of the present book. Finding appropriate and viable adaptive reuses for the decaying empty shells of the old forts and palaces in Hunza and Baltistan was a major challenge for the AKTC. Individual, custom-tailored solutions were and are to be found for all of them in dialogue with the owners, the regional raja families, who are no longer in a position to maintain them. A variety of reuses has been earmarked for each case, considering the building’s physical state, historic importance and potential for soft transformation, and also keeping in mind the possible development benefits to be derived by the respective local communities. Solutions range from pure consolidation and conservation (Altit fort) via conservation-cum-museum exhibitions and cultural activities (Baltit fort) to partial adaptive reuse as a very special ‘historic’ guesthouse (Shigar palace). The rehabilitation of Shigar fort, further described in this book, will hopefully play a pioneering role in attracting a new type of culturally responsive leisure tourism and therefore open new perspectives for the Northern Areas.

Without going into any more detail in this introductory note, it is worth mentioning that the various implemented projects presented in this book have set in motion a self-propelled rehabilitation process, which will gain momentum with every further step. Staff training and education of local communities through the very implementation process has been a major factor of success – and can be seen as an important nonmaterial contribution to the development of the Northern Areas.

Crucial to our endeavours has been the continued support of a great number of institutions and individuals who have been involved over the past years. In particular, I would like to thank our partner agencies who have – both conceptually and financially – supported this innovative cultural development endeavour. NORAD (the Norwegian development agency) contributed significantly to the village rehabilitation projects in Karimabad and Ganish. It also co-financed the restoration of Baltit fort and Shigar fort and took the initiative of setting up a donor coalition for Baltistan. The Japanese Embassy in Islamabad has generously contributed to the rehabilitation programme in Altit and several historic settlements in Baltistan through its Grass-Roots Assistance Programme. The SDC (the Swiss development agency) was instrumental in launching handicraft development projects in both Hunza and Baltistan and in nurturing the growth of corresponding local institutions. Financial contributions from the Getty Grant Program towards the conservation of Baltit fort are gratefully acknowledged. Finally, cooperation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature under the sponsorship of NORAD has resulted in an innovative linkage between natural and cultural heritage inventories.

While direct community involvement was essential for the successful implementation of the various projects described in this brochure, support from local government agencies was equally important. Their relevance will increase in the future, particularly regarding legal back-up to the decisions of the Town Management Societies and public-sector investments in infrastructure, schools and hospitals. In this respect, a fruitful cooperation with successive Chief Secretaries of the Northern Areas and the Public Works Department has already been in place over the past years. Without their continued cooperation and support, many of the presented programme achievements would have been impossible.

Citation: Bianca, Stefano, ed. 2007. Karakoram: Hidden Treasures in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, 2nd ed. Turin, Italy: Umberto Allemandi & Co.
Author/Editor: Stefano Bianca, ed.
Publication Date: 2007
Copyright: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

View of Burzil pass
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River crossing over Gilgit river
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Hunza cliff
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Hunza cliff
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Way to Altit fort
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Altit Fort
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