Work to restore Peshawar walled city soon

peshawar

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tourism, culture and archaeology department is set to start implementing an ambitious agenda to restore the past legacy of the historic `Walled City Peshawar` as well as revive cultural activities in the province.

A meeting chaired by secretary Azam Khan and attended by all relevant officials was held to discuss ideas and ways to revive cultural, sports, tourist and youth activities in the entire province.

The meeting decided to initiate various cultural festivals and activities under the Revival of Indigenous Cultural Heritage (RICH) project to be implemented by the directorate of culture in collaboration with the local artists, CBOs/ NGOs as implementing partners in the project, decided meeting.

The project is to work as a catalyst in identifying and reviving the celebrations of the indigenous culture of the province. It will also help document all human cultural assets and prepare a comprehensive online database available to researchers, scholars, policymakers and those who have an interest in culture of this region, the meeting was informed.

It will begin in all districts of the province in collaboration with the district-based grassroots organisations, cultural operators, arts councils, culture and tourism support groups, artisans and craftsmen associations and civil society organisations which have considerable knowledge and skills about their local cultures and heritage, said a press release issued.

Secretary Azam Khan said the project was aimed at documenting, preserving and promoting the indigenous cultural heritage and tourism of all the communities living in the culturally-rich Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to the release, to retain the historic character and culture of the old city of Peshawar, the directorate of archaeology is launching a project titled `Conservation of Peshawar Walled City.

Under the project, the city walls and historic 16 gates would be conserved for tourism purposes. PTI Chairman Imran Khan is particularly interested in this project, the meeting was informed.

The meeting was told that the project would be in two phases. Initially, documentation and master plan would be prepared and implementation phase would follow.

The Peshawar Walled City Authority would be established to administer it. For this purpose, technical assistance has been sought from the Belgian University, which specialises in preserving historic cities and Peshawar is one of the oldest living cities of Asia.

Dr Abdul Samad, director (archaeology and museums), said the directorate had planned to conserve old monuments of Peshawar. He said the provincial government had allocated Rs200 million for the Walled City project.

During the meeting, the directorate of culture was also tasked to establish a state-of-the-art audio and video studio, which would be first of its kind in province and perhaps the entire country. The studio will help promote creations of local artists, who lack resources to afford a private studio for their recordings.

The officals also discussed the cultural beautifcation of Peshawar city according to accepted standards in art and design. The directorate of culture was asked to run it effectively.

Under the project, volunteers will be given training to create awareness about the cleanliness and woo the masses to participate in 1(eeping the city clean. Soon visible changes will be seen through aesthetically pleasing artwork around the city under the guidance of national experts.

The directorate of culture will also identify living human assets and maestros of various fields of culture so that the government could honour them with recognition awards like `Lifetime Achievement Awards`. A directory will also be published under the title `The best of KP` or `Living Human Treasures.

The project is aimed at preserving the knowledge and skills of the maestros and to salute our living legends for their lifelong struggles in dif ferent fields of art, craf ts, literature etc.

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