ADA held the fourth dialogue in its “Do You Know Your City” Series on April 11th 2019, at CECOS University, Peshawar. Peshawar is a city with a rich history, which is not as publicized as other provincial capitals. The event focused on the history and development of this city with conversation going back to the days of the Kushan Empire (1st century AD). Speakers at the event included Dr. Nida Ullah Shrai, Mohammad Khalid, Majid Khan, Maria Aslam & Adnan Khan.
Dr. Nida Ullah Shrai set the tone of the talk by relegating the historical context of Peshawar in South Asia. He presented a historical account of who maintained control of Peshawar and its importance. Beginning with the Greeks who were succeeded by the Persian speaking Parthians, all the way to the Kushans under the leader Kanishka. Peshawar became the capital under the rule of the great Kanishka a devout Buddhist whose contributions to the architecture of the city can be seen in the Kanishka Stupa in Peshawar and various other monuments. Hence this trajectory covered the influx and immersion of various beliefs that travelled through this area to various parts of the subcontinent.
Dr. Nida Ullah Shrai traced a history of Peshawar from the arrival of Alexander the great; according to Shrai, Peshawar was the route he took to enter the sub-continent during the time of his conquest. Following this Peshawar became the summer capital of the Kushan Empire, a Central Asian empire that took over much of what is present day Afghanistan and South Asia. Shrai also spoke of some of the important buildings that were present in Peshawar during that period including temples and sites of worship. The problem of demolition of temples is very pertinent issues in Peshawar at the present moment as number of temples, which are of incredible historical significance, are under threat after falling into disuse.
Architect Mohammad Khalid, uncovered many important facts of what the city had inherited post partition and the structures that have been lost due to negligence and the absence of authorities on heritage, archeology and historical sites. The quantum of buildings that were of significance for heritage versus the number that is presently left for heritage sites, which s barely 20 percent was shared with the audience. He further elaborated on efforts of conservation and the Antiquities Act coming into force. Architect Majid Khan highlighted on the eroding and disappearance of green areas in the city of Peshawar that was dubbed as the city of gardens. The native plants and dense forest areas have paved way to the concrete jungle and the massive infra structure development has further eroded the green belts of the region.
Maria Aslam presented the ADA journey, the signature series DYKYC held at various cities and the inaugural ADA Awards. She announced the ADA intentions of holding more collaborative projects with the academia of the northern region. Architect Adnan Khan, head of CECOS Architecture presented his vote of thanks with a special mention to Bluebird Paints for making the event possible.