Conservation of Historic Monuments in Lahore: Lessons from Successes and Failures

Abdul Rehman


A number of conservation projects including World Heritage sites are underway in Lahore Pakistan. The most important concern for conservation of these monuments is to maintain authenticity in all aspects. Although we conserve, preserve and restore monuments we often neglect the aspects of authenticity from different angles. The paper will focus on three case studies built around 1640’s namely Shalamar garden, Shish Mahal and Jahangir’s tomb. The first two sites are included in the World Heritage List while the third one is a national monument and has a potential of being included in the world heritage list. Each one of these monument has a special quality of design and decorative finishes and its own peculiar conservation problems which need innovative solutions. The proposed paper will briefly discuss the history of architecture of these monuments, their conservation problems, and techniques adopted to revive them to the original glory. To what degree the government is successful in undertaking authentic conservation and restoration is examined. The paper draws conclusions with respect to successes and failures in these projects and sees to what degree the objectives of authenticity have been achieved.

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