Khwaja Parsa Shrine Park Rehabilitation
Balkh, Afghanistan
Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

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.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Balkh, Afghanistan
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Part of Site
Associated Collections
First restored from 1974-1975
Park rehabilitation from 2013 - 2014
Style Periods
Site area: 3.5 hectares
Variant Names
Shrine of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa Landscaping
Ziyarat-i Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa Park
Building Usages
Related Sites