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Mughal-era Shahi Hammam in Lahore wins UNESCO Award

Mughal-era Shahi Hammam in Lahore wins UNESCO Award

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The 17th century Shahi Hammam of Mughal-era in Lahore received the prestigious Award of Merit at UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards 2016 for Cultural Heritage Conservation in Bangkok. The Mughal-era Shahi Hammam also called the Wazir Khan Hammam, is the only existing memorial public bath in the subcontinent of South Asia. It is located in Lahore, near the Delhi gate. It was built in Turkish style in 1635 C.E. (Common Era) by Ilam-ud-din Ansari (Wazir Khan), then chief physician to the Mughal court. After the fall of Mughal Empire, the Hamman was being used for other purposes than the intended one, Government of Punjab and Agha Khan Trust for Culture restored the Hammam in 2015.

According to the statement published on UNESCO website:

Undertaken with a high degree of technical proficiency, the restoration of Shahi Hammam has safeguarded a unique example of the monumental 17th-century Mughal public bathhouse,

The conservation project was recognized:

for returning the ornate Shahi Hammam to its former prominence within the Walled City of Lahore while giving encouragement to future private conservation initiatives.

There were 13 winning projects from six different countries. This year Pakistan, Australia, Iran, India, China, and Japan – have been recognized in the Heritage Awards.

Jury members were delighted with the quality of this year’s entries to the Heritage Awards,

The 2016 Award of Excellence was given to a prayer hall (Sanro-Den Hall) at Sukunahikona Shrine in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture.

The project epitomizes the efficacy of grassroots advocacy, coupled with traditional building practices, in extending the life of distinctive 20th-century Kakezukuri structure, successfully returning it to a central place in the cultural life of the local community.

Chief of UNESCO Bangkok Culture Unit and Chair of the Jury, Duong Bich Hanh said she was delighted to see the Heritage Awards boost the idea of conservation practices in the Asia-Pacific. Duong Bich said:

This showed increased knowledge and higher standards in conservation work across Asia-Pacific.

India’s St Olav’s Church and China’s TOPING Qiang Village was given the Award of Distinction. Two heritage sites in India also got the Award of Merit: Walls & Bastions of Mahidpur Fort in Madhya Pradesh and Cama Building in Mumbai.