A Place for Mystics

Zarnegar Khanaqa (right) (2009) by AKTC / Christian RichtersThe Aga Khan Trust for Culture


The Zarnegar khanaqa, built at the end of the 15th century, is located to the south-west of the Abdullah Ansari shrine.

Intended for use by Sufi dervishes as a hospice and center for the propagation of Sufism, the building takes its name from the rich turquoise and gold painted decoration on the underside of its low brick dome.

Conservation of the roof structure (left)The Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Undoing the Damage

Conservation of the khanaqa started with a structural intervention entailing the removal of reinforced concrete from atop all areas of the roof. Damp areas beneath the concrete slabs were allowed to dry before the consolidation of the masonry dome and arches could be undertaken.

and internal elevations, Zarnegar Khanaqa (2007) by AKTCThe Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Holy Waters

Located directly opposite the Zarnegar khanaqa, across from the entrance to the Ansari shrine, the Zamzam cistern was built on Timurid ruler Shah Rukh’s orders and was allegedly filled with sacred water sourced from the Zamzam well in Mecca.

Zarnegar Khanaqa after restoration (2009) by AKTC / Christian RichtersThe Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Timurid Legacy

The khanaqa, together with the Ansari shrine, Namakdan pavilion, Zamzam cistern and an underground mosque, forms an ensemble of historic structures on the western perimeter of Gazurgah village.

Credits: Story

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) wishes to express its appreciation, first and foremost, to its staff and consultants for their tireless efforts and commitment towards preserving Afghanistan’s rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

In addition to resources provided directly by AKTC, the restoration of heritage sites shown in this exhibition were supported through financial contributions made by the Federal Republic of Germany, the Government of the United States and its Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.

This online exhibition was made possible through the efforts of Theresa zu Leiningen, Mohammad Baqir Yaqubi and Dr. Arash Boostani.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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