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ARG (Presidential Palace)

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Kabul, a city of ancient history, had been a home for kings and crowns. In the past, a wall, which still its remainders exist, enclosed the city with six entrance gates. Each of the doors were known with a certain name, Kandahari Gate in Dehmazang area, Sardar Jahan Khan Gate at Salam Khaana area, Speena Darwaza, Peet Darwaza behind Eidgah Masjid, Guzargah gate at Bala Hesar as well as Lahoori Gate which old people still express their memory lanes about.
The ruling castle was situated at Bala Hesar. Before kingdom of Abd-ur-Rahman Khan, no suitable place was available for the king. Bala Hesar and Shir Poor palaces had been damaged and partly burned during the wars in Afghanistan. During the reign of Shir Ali Khan, construction of Shir Poor Castle had been started in accordance with his order, but in 1878, following the attack of English to Kabul, the King moved away to Mazar-e-Sharif and the construction was stopped.

By the time, Amir Abd-ur-Rahman Khan came to Kabul and ascended the throne, there was no suitable place for residence of the king. Therefore Amir spent the first night at house of Ghazi Abdullah Khan Wardak who was dwelling in the area today known as Da-Afghanan.

King Abd-ur-Rahman Khan developed a plan to build the Arg palace in 1229 Hijri Qamari. The King paid a visit to Jalalabad to organize military affairs and stayed there for a while. Amir – the king – sent a letter to his son and instructed him to commence building of the palace in coordination with advisors at the area which is located today. At last, construction of the palace was started by a number of adept and proficient architects in 1300 Hijri Qamari.

There was no trace of a constructed area in nowadays Arg (the Presidential Palace) and it was only a soil dessert. There were farms and gardens on a part of the area surrounded by dry lands. There was also a small bazar in present-day Da-Afghanan and Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood was an open area in which, afterwards, the first airport was founded during the reign of Ghazi Amanullah Khan.

Construction of the Arg was coincided with creation of several other buildings. Bostan Saray is located in current Zarnegar Park where Amir Abd-ur-Rahman Khan is laid to rest today. The other building ‘Gulistan Saray’, in which Amir Abd-ur-Rahman khan had been living, was situated across from Ministry of Education on the area where currently Kabul Municipality is positioned. Two mentioned buildings were parts of the Arg in that time.

Currently, some portions of the Arg do not exist on the map of Kabul city. Some of these buildings have been demolished and some renovated and still remain. Right now, the mentioned buildings are differently situated inside and outside of the Arg. For instance, Storay Palace is situated in Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Naak Bagh Palace is positioned in National Archive. Zain-ul-Emaarat Palace is referred to the current Sedarat (Presidency) which was built by Viceroy Nasrullah Khan.

In aspect of location, the Arg palace is located at the heart of Kabul linked to Da Afghanan in east and to Murad Khani area in north-west. From Pashtunistan Square to Macrorayan, Ministry of Mines, Administrative Office of the President and Ministry of Defense are situated at the side of the road in front of the Arg palace. Also, Ariana Square, Ariana Hotel and Central Statistics Department are positioned in north-east. Amani High School and residential houses of Wazir Akbar Khan are positioning at side of a road passed through the north side of the Arg palace. The west side has comprised Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of China as well as the United Nations Offices, and finally Azizi Center and other building have been raised to the south.

The first building constructed inside the Arg palace is called Kuti Baghcha of which construction was completed on 1304 Hijri Qamari. Following that, several buildings were constructed such as; the building of ARG, Salaam Khaana Palace, Gunbad (Dome) of Naghara Khaana, Arg Kootwali Bazar, Shahi Base (Qaraargah Shahi), Shahi therm (Hamam Shahi) and Office of Accountant for the Countries (Mostofi-ul-Mamalek).

Other Palaces
A number of other palaces were built during the reign of Amir Abd-ur-Rahman Khan along with construction of the Arg Palace.
Kuti Baghcha
Kuti Baghcha known as the first palace inside the compound, is a round two-floor building built on a 300 m2 area. The palace comprises a total number of 15 small, medium and large rooms. The second floor contains small but spectacular rooms which its windows are opened to numerous directions.

This is the hall of Kuti-e baghtscha, also called Emirs pavillon. Renewed by Afghan Rehabilitation Group – ARG e.V. Financed by the German Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office) and the Gerda Henkel-Stiftung. Here also Sekandar Ozod-Seradj was the coordinator of the project. This building is an impressive example of oriental art.

Prior to coup against Sardar Dawood Khan, Sardar Abdul Wali Khan was living in Kuti Bachcha. It is expressed that sacred hair of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) has been found on eastern room of the second floor. It is worth mentioning that a part of the palace had served as a museum, and Shahi Kitchen used to exist on south-east of the palace. Construction process of Kuti Baghcha came to an end in 1304 Hijri Qamari.

koti-e-baghtscha_

The Arg’s Library

Pieces of information about a large and important library inside the Arg has been mentioned in the royal court’s books. It is also said that thousands of valuable books and manuscripts were being kept in this library. Currently, a total number of 9000 books are available in this library.

Haram Sara

[Not a valid template] As the name implies, the places was dedicated for residence of the kling’s family. Haram Sara Palace has two floors inclusive of 7 small and large rooms, laundry room, tailing room, a large cinema hall, large basement behind which Masjid of the Arg was located. Beside of Haram Sara, a large dining hall was constructed of which walls are decorated with woods and beautiful paintings. Haram Sara comprises 8 rooms which are currently designated for Baba Mellat (Father of the nation) and his family.

Haram Sara
اړوند پوسټونه

The second floor contains the rooms used for the president’s meetings, a small library as well as a meeting hall which are decorated with lapis lazuli miniature and paintings. Also, stone statues and swords belonging to ancestors of His Highness are kept inside the miniature and ancient closets which are positioned on the walls.

During the term of Mohammad Nadir Khan, the area of Haram Sara was expanded. Carpets and decorative objects which were looted during the battles, were purchased and returned back to Haram Sara. During the Kingdom of Mohammad Zahir Shah, a dining hall, pool, and a number of more suitable rooms were constructed within the area of Haram Sara.

During the following states namely states of Mohammad Dawood Khan, Taraki, Amin, Karmal and Najibullah, no certain changes have been brought to the palace. Subsequent to Saur 5, 1371 and during fractional wars, the building of Haram Sara was severely damaged. Haram Sara was reconstructed in the term of Hamid Karzai, the former President.

Mosque Of The Arg

This mosque was built during Amir Abd-ur Rahman Khan’s kingdom in one floor with 15X20 meter sides on an area of 300 square meter. The mosque, with the capacity of 250 people, is 9 meter high, and is covered with timbers from forests of Paktia.

Mosque of the Arg

During the Taliban period, an ablution room (Wadhu Khana) was built adjacent to the mosque, but it was collapsed after formation of the new administration due to not meeting standards which led to construction of another ablution room to the west of Char Chenar Palace. Along with renovation of Char Chenar, the ablution room was collapsed and a modern one with the capacity of 40 people was built on basement of Char Chenar.

During the Taliban period, a mosque with the capacity of 300 people was constructed on an area of 300 square meters on the south of Dilgosha Palace.

Clock Tower Of Dilgosha Palace

A high tower, which its height reaches to 100 meters and its internal sides are 12 to 12 feet, is on the sight in Delgoash Palace. A clock is installed on uppermost part of the tower which had pillars to four sides. This clock was bought and installed one century ago in 1911 AD. This attractive tower was damaged during the coup Saur 7, 1357 – 27 Apr. 1978.

Clock Tower of Dilgosha Palace

Kuti Baghcha

[Not a valid template]Kuti Baghcha is known as the first internal palace, a two-floor building, which has been built in a round shape on 300 square meters area. The palace comprises 15 small, medium and large rooms. There are small and beautiful rooms on the second floor of which windows are opened toward several directions.

Prior to coup against Sardar Dawood Khan, Sardar Abdul Wali Khan was living in Kuti Baghcha. Also, it is cited that sacred hair of the prophet of Islam, Hazrat Mohammad (Peace be upon Him), existed on eastern room of the second floor.  It is noteworthy that a part of the palace had been used as museum.
Kuti Baghcha

The Shahi (related to king) Kitchen was located at south-east of the palace, which doesn’t exist today. Construction work of Kuti Baghcha palace came to an end in 1304 Hijri Qamari.

Salaam Khana Palace

The palace is called Salam Khana – a house to say hello in English – as, in the past, public people were admitted to the king in order to say hello during celebrations, Eids and occasions of the New Year. That’s why, this palace is called Salam Khaana. The palace is located on eastern side out of the Arg’s area, and has been built at an ancient style in one floor.

Salaam Khana Palace

Salaam Khaana is 120 meters long, 40 meters wide and 20 meters high. The palace has the capacity of 1000 participants in one time. The walls inside the palace have been decorated with portraits of national leaders. The walls of the palace, which are made of raw bricks, are 1.5 meters wide. During the period of Mohammad Nadir Shah in 1309 Hijri Shamsi, the first National Assembly was inaugurated here. Large sessions have also been held in this palace as, currently, swearing-in ceremonies and big gatherings are held in this palace.

In 1390 Hijri Shamsi, the southern part of the palace was repaired. Park and green area were built in front of Salaam Khana in 1380s. A big Jirga (gathering) was also held in this palace in the term of Dr. Najibullah.

Dilgosha Palace

[Not a valid template]Construction of Dilgosha, which is one of the most spectacular and beautiful palaces in the Arg, was started when Amir Habibullah Khan returned home from India in 1290 Hijri Shamsi. The palace was inaugurated and exploited in 1914. Dilgosha Palace was built on an area of 600 square meters where its rooms’ height reaches to 10 meters. Other portions of this palace consist of halls for the Cabinet’s sessions, meetings, dining, waiting as well as a tearoom and a chain elevator. The rooms at Dilgosha, which are decorated with attractive miniature and paintings, are 20 meters long and 9 meters wide.

his is the government palace Delkusha. Renewed in 2014 by the architect Sekandar Ozod-Seradj after a massive water damage.

During the reign of King Amanullah Khan, Dilgosha was the palace in which special ceremonies were held. The king’s long trip to the Europe started from Dilgosha Palace with special ceremonies.

Also, King Amanullah Khan announced his abdication in Dilgosha in order to prevent bloodshed. In the term of His Highness Nadir Shah, he utilized Dilgosha as his working office where important sessions were held in. During the term of His Highness Zahir Shah, foreign guests were received in this palace.

Char Chenar Palace

[Not a valid template]Construction of Char Chenar was completed in 1390 Hijri Shamsi. This building is used for holding conferences. A large conference hall which contains 12 rooms was built on the first floor of this palace. Bathroom and sport gym have also been made on basement of the palace.

Char Chenar Palace

The palace is situated on south-western area of the Arg, beside Archive building and across from Se Chenar Palace.

Afghanistan’s allied country, China, constructed this 3-floor building so that it was formerly called as ‘the Chinese Palace’. The palace is currently known as Char Chenar.

 

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