The Nine Domes of the Universe: The Ancient Noh Gonbad Mosque the Study and Conservation of an Early Islamic Monument at Balkh

Noh Gonbad mosque was included in the 2006 World Monuments Watch to raise awareness about the conservation needs of this extraordinary site, which is one of the earliest known Islamic structures in Afghanistan. WMF was fortunate that the Watch announcement sparked interest in the site, including an award of financial support from the J.M. Kaplan Fund, toward necessary documentation and conservation planning activities at the site. UNESCO, the Afghan government, and the Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan (DAFA) were committed to protecting the site and prepared an assessment and conservation project. Thus, WMF was able to apply the funds from the Kaplan Fund toward the assessments undertaken by Ugo Tonietti, a conservation architect at the University of Florence. As the project advanced, other donors committed to work at the site, including a major role undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). This publication reflects more than a decade of focus on the history, conservation, documentation, and safeguarding of Noh Gonbad mosque. WMF is pleased to be a part of this initiative, which offers the opportunity to understand more fully an important element of architectural, religious and social history.

This publication was prepared on the occasion of completion of the first-phase of extensive conservation and consolidation works to the Noh Gumbad mosque in Balkh, carried out by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and the Ministry of Information and Culture, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, with financial support from the Embassy of the United States. The project was implemented under a scientific partnership with the Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan (DAFA), the Department of Architecture at the University of Florence, World Monuments Fund (WMF), and Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo (AGSS).



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