The Double Column Serai

A historic centre of trade in Murad Khani

By Turquoise Mountain

Kabul, Afghanistan

The double Column Serai (2010) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

The Double Column Serai

The Double Column Serai is one of the finest buildings in Murad Khani. Once a great trading Serai, by the 1980s it was being used as a fruit market. And in the 1990s, the Serai had become a dilapidated storage space, with a small rubber shoe business working in one corner.

A photograph of the Caravan Serai in the pastTurquoise Mountain

Traders resting with their carriages and horses in a typical caravan serai.

The Double Coloumns before restoration (2006) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

The Caravn Serai during restoration works (2007) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

Classic Carvings (2018) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

Conservation Work

The building has mid-19th century carved Himalayan cedar or deodar columns, with lotus leaf motifs, indicating the probable involvement of Kashmiri woodworkers. These columns were saved and conserved in the process of restoration.

Classic Carvings (2017) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

Double Column during reconstruction (2007) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

The Double Column Serai (2017) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

The Design Centre (2018) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

A Modern Hub

Today, the building houses the Design Centre, the Ceramics School, and provides free space where graduates of the Turquoise Mountain Institute can set up their businesses for a year or two.

Classic Carvings (2017) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

Details in Wood

When originally built, the building was composed of two storeys of nine wooden columns and had an elaborate wooden façade. Each column was carved from a single piece of deodar on a tulip base. Vines, acanthus leaves and roses were carved up the straight sides.

Classic Carvings (2017) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

Turquoise Mountain Gift Shop (2017)Turquoise Mountain

The Turquoise Mountain gift shop is now housed in the ground floor of the restored building.

The Double Column Serai (2018) by Turquoise MountainTurquoise Mountain

Patayi screens, coloured tile niches, and Herati glass lamp shades decorating the entrance to the Double Column Serai.

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