The Pleasure Pavilion

Namakdan Pavilion before restoration (2005) by AKTCThe Aga Khan Trust for Culture

A Garden Pavilion

Built in 1494 by Amir Ali Sher Nawai after he retired from the court and became custodian of the Abdullah Ansari Shrine, the Namakdan Pavilion was laid out as part of Bagh-e Naw, which became one of several formal gardens established by the Timurid court north of Herat.

Herat (2009) by AKTC / Christian RichtersThe Aga Khan Trust for Culture


The Namakdan pavilion, apparently named after its resemblance to a saltcellar, is a 12-sided two-storey structure with a dome spanning over a central double-height octagonal space covered by a ribbed dome.

The ingenious geometric design enables the flawless transition of a 12-sided pavilion to an octagonal internal space arranged around marble water tank.

Conservation and stabilization work to the roof (right), From the collection of: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture
and main elevation, Namakdan Pavilion, AKTC, 2006, From the collection of: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture
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Conservation work entailed the removal of accumulated earth atop of the roof, which had caused significant damage to the masonry domes of the pavilion by placing additional weight on the fragile structure. Simultaneously, temporary structures built within the pavilion were removed and the original elevations were exposed for documentation and repair.

Reconstruction of an octagonal water tank (left), From the collection of: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture
and channel, Namakdan Pavilion, AKTC, 2008, From the collection of: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture
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Urgent work began on repairing the fragile central brick dome, after which a system of steel ring-beams and ties was introduced on multiple levels around and through the supporting brick masonry. During the removal of modern additions, an octagonal water tank was rediscovered, along with traces of a water cascade and channel, all of which were subsequently restored, and new brick paving was laid within the building.

Namakdan Pavilion after restoration (2009) by AKTC / Christian RichtersThe Aga Khan Trust for Culture

From the Past for the Future

After more than four years of painstaking conservation, the Namakdan pavilion again resembles the structure that its Timurid builders intended. An important monument has thus been safeguarded for future generations.

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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