Turquoise Mountain was established in 2006 at the behest of HRH The Prince of Wales and the then President of Afghanistan. Turquoise Mountain's aim is to revive Afghanistan's traditional crafts, and to regenerate Murad Khani, a historic area of Kabul's Old City known for its rich cultural heritage.
Afghanistan was once a great centre of civilisation at the heart of the Silk Road. It inherited the traditions of India, Persia and Central Asia and blended them into a unique artistic culture. Beginning in the 1970s, decades of conflict almost destroyed these rich artistic and architectural traditions. In the time of the Taliban, many artisans were forced to flee the country or give up their craft. Until recently the Old City of Kabul was buried under two metres of garbage, had no running water, drainage or electricity, and its houses and historic buildings were in ruins and under threat from developers.
Turquoise Mountain has transformed Murad Khani, a district of the Old City, from slum conditions into a vibrant cultural, educational and economic hub. Turquoise Mountain has restored historic buildings, cleared rubbish and installed utilities throughout the entire community. A primary school and health clinic have also been established to ensure residents have access to health and education services.
An internationally accredited vocational institute is now training a new generation of Afghan artisans in woodwork, calligraphy and miniature painting, ceramics, jewellery and gem-cutting.
Murad Khani now serves as a highly visible symbol of cooperation between Afghanistan, the international community, and the residents and students of the old city of Kabul.