Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday inaugurated the second phase of the Darul Aman Palace reconstruction project.
The first phase of clearing out all the rubble has successfully been completed.
Talking on the historical importance of the royal palace, Ghani said the renovation of the palace was a matter of great importance from an historical perspective.
He said that the palace will be turned into a guest house for important visitors and a national museum once the renovation process is complete.
Meanwhile, Urban Development Affairs Minister Sayed Sadat Mansour Naderi said that the palace will be renovated in its original form.
He said an estimated 100 architects are currently involved in the project with 25 percent of them female architects.
Reconstruction of Darul Aman Palace is the rebirth part of the history of Afghanistan, Ghani told reporters on Thursday.
Ghani also said other projects would be undertaken including the renovation of Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul and the Great Mosque in Herat and the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif.
“You can imagine the reconstruction of Eid Gah Mosque. This mosque is the platform where Afghanistan’s National hero King Amanullah Ghazi announced the independence of Afghanistan. Our country has a lot of champions, but Amanullah Khan has an extraordinary place, so the Eid Gah mosque and this palace have historic importance,” said Ghani.
As concerns over the destruction of historical sites and monuments grow however, Ghani suggested a budget should be set aside for the renovation of historical sites in the country in order to attract tourists.
Ghani also stressed the need for traditional architecture to be taught to the students at universities.
“A nation can’t survive without its culture. The future must save its connection to the past and feel the culture and history of the past,” said Ghani.
“A foreign company estimated the cleaning of the site would be about $1 million USD, but the responsible authorities did the task saving $970,000 USD,” said Naderi. The clean-up phase cost only $30,000 USD.
Darul Aman Palace was built in the 1920s by King Amanullah Shah.
Amanullah lived in the palace for only two years before he was overthrown.
The palace is an imposing neoclassical building on a hilltop overlooking a flat, dusty valley in the western part of Kabul. Intended as the seat of a future parliament, the building was unused for many years after religious conservatives forced Amanullah from power and halted his reforms.
Darul Aman Palace was gutted by fire in 1969. It was restored to house the Defense Ministry during the 1970s and 1980s. In the Communist coup of 1978, the building was set on fire. It was damaged again as rival Mujahideen factions fought for control of Kabul in the early 1990s after the end of the Soviet invasion. Heavy shelling by the Mujahideen left the building a gutted ruin.