Darb Qirmiz Quarter, Egypt (awarded 1981–1983)
Darb Qirmiz is a Fatimid residential quarter established in 10th-century Cairo. The major characteristic of the neighbourhood is a narrow winding street that bisects the district. The monuments include three madrassas, a palace, a mausoleum, a fountain, and a bazaar (Williams, 2002). This part of the historic city contains the very first conservation area in Cairo (Evin, 1985). When monuments were being built during the period between the 8th and 14th centuries, the existing older buildings were already in poor condition and decaying (AKAA, 1983). The monuments and residential buildings in the area are, on average, 15 metres in height. Most of the buildings have stone-face walls, with rubble cores, and occasionally upper levels made of brick. The roofs consist of wooden beams and wooden platforms that contain a layer of earth and clay. The floors are usually patterned marble or plain stone slabs. Poorer quality materials have been used in some residential dwellings; their walls are timbered with an infill of brick and rubble. They tend to be plastered on the outside and painted or lime washed dark ochre or cream (Cantacuzino, 1985). Over the years, the Darb Qirmiz Quarter has declined, it has become less vibrant, and many of the wealthier inhabitants have moved to other areas, resulting in further deterioration.
The thick walls of later and newer historical monuments were made of solid stone; these structures, as a rule, were regularly maintained using waqf (charitable) funds well before the French committee took over their maintenance in the 1890s. It is, therefore, not surprising that these monuments were still standing, although in poor condition, in the latter part of the 20th century. However, during the two decades preceding the intervention, maintenance was erratic and not particularly well executed. Consequently, the monuments in the quarter were in an advanced state of deterioration when they were selected by the German Archaeological Institute as a pilot experimental project for the conservation of Fatimid Cairo (Lewcock, 1983). Restoration of the Fatimid monuments included replacing the plaster, the ornamentations, the doors, and the glass lamps, as well as the stone walls at the lower levels. In addition, the original painted surfaces, especially those with inscriptions, were carefully cleaned and repaired where possible. Lastly, the roof surfaces were reconstructed and repaired using authentic materials.
The monuments restored as part of the German project were the Madrasa of Sabiq al-Din Mitqal (AD 770-1368); the Mausoleum of Shaikh Sinan (AD 994-1585); the Sabil-Kutab of Abd al-Rahman Kakhuda (AD 1157— 1745) (Figure 3.2); the Madrasa of Tatar al-Higaziya (AD 748-1360),
Figure 3.2 Sabil-Kuttab Abd al-Rahman Kathuda, Darb Qirmiz Quarter, Cairo, Egypt, by Egyptian Antiquities Organization and German Archaeological Institute/Michael Meinecke, Philip Speiser, and Muhammad Fahmi Awad
Source: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Reha Gunay (photographer) and the Palace of Bashtak al Nasiri (AD 740-1339). The conservation scheme involved the restoration of seven monuments and the rehabilitation of the whole quarter (Cantacuzino, 1985); this was implemented over four phases. The restoration began with the Mosque-Madrasa of Mithqal (1368) and the Tomb of Shaikh Sinan (1585) (Evin, 1985). The 1981-1983 cycle Aga Khan Award selected the Darb Qirmiz Quarter as the award recipient for the completion of the first phase of the restoration project; this also included the restoration of the Madrasa of al-Anuki, a Mamluk building that dates back to AD 1368, and the Mausoleum of Sheikh Sinan built in AD 1585.
Mostar Old Town Conservation, Bosnia and Herzegovina (awarded 1984–1986)
Mostar is a 600-year-old town in the Neretva River Valley in Bosnia- Herzegovina; it lies approximately 56 kilometres inland from the Adriatic Sea and around 150 kilometres northwest of the Croatian city of Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian Coast. Founded during the late medieval period, in the 1400s, Mostar started as two small settlements of a few dwellings on either side of the Neretva River, connected by a wooden suspension bridge. After the arrival of the Ottomans in 1557, the town became a Turkish garrison town and as such began to flourish. In 1566, the new rulers built a new permanent stone-arch bridge with a flanking tower. This crossing point soon became the focus of a thriving commercial centre on both sides of the river. By the 17th century the town comprised over 1000 houses (AKAA, 1989a).
Other important architectural and structural forms in this area are representative expressions of the cultural heritage of Eastern Herzegovina (Bold and Cherry, 2016), these included fortresses, bridges, stone dams, and rural architecture. In 1878 the Austro-Hungarians arrived and occupied Mostar. Fifty years later, Mostar became part of the newly created kingdom of Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, and Slovenes, a territory which Tito later renamed Yugoslavia. By the 1960s, many of Mostar’s ancient structures were deteriorating, despite the efforts being made to preserve them. Prior to the restoration work at Mostar, a detailed analytical plan was prepared and questionnaires were distributed to the community to get their input.
The most famous structure in Mostar is the bridge, known as Stari Most (old bridge), designed by Turkish architect Mimar Haireddin (Jezernik, 1995) and built in 1566 (Figure 3.3). The bridge eventually became a symbol of Mostar’s cultural history, connecting residents from both sides of the river, thus facilitating the trade that helped the city to expand (Forde, 2016). The short (30-metre) and narrow 4-metre-wide bridge, mostly built of teneliya blocks, had an arched span which rose some 27 metres above the river (Al-Radi, 1986). In addition to the rehabilitation of the bridge, restoration and renovation works on various
Figure 3.3 Conservation of Mostar Old Town, by Stari Grad Mostar/Dzihad Pasic, Amir Pasic
Source: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Reha Gunay (photographer)
public buildings commenced five years later; these included school, shops, watermills, private houses, the clock tower, and gardens. Unfortunately, in 1993, during the Serbian-Bosnian war, the 16th-century bridge was destroyed by artillery fire.
In the 1970s, as the old buildings began to crumble around them, the citizens of Mostar were determined to preserve and protect what was left of their cultural heritage. Disenchanted with the inefficient bureaucrats who were responsible for the old town, in 1977 the citizens founded an organisation to take ownership and responsibility for its restoration. Dzihad Pasic, a former government monument inspector, pioneered the initiative, and the organisation was established as the main driver of the project. The key objectives were to restore and preserve the historic centre of the more than 300-year-old Ottoman town of Mostar, as well as document the town’s rich built heritage. A further important objective was to revitalise the commercial and business centre of the old town. This involved a programme of repurposing for local shops, offices, and other buildings which would be used to rehouse traditional craftspeople and artisans (Al-Radi, 1986). Added to these objectives was the provision of a variety of modern facilities for the local population and tourists.