The Historical Quarters of Karachi
This book addresses a hitherto much neglected area of study: the protection and conservation of the historic architecture and architectural monuments in Karachi. It presents a meticulously researched document that initiates an examination of the Old Town Quarters and the Serai Quarters of Karachi in the context of a fast growing metropolitan city. This valuable source of original information includes photographic documentation, area maps and sketches that will be of particular interest to students of architecture, conservationists, architects, town planners, civil engineers, social scientists, historians and sociologists, administrators and general readers having an interest in Karachi. Karachi’s old historic fort still exists in the form of streets and mohallas embellished with a number of dharamshalas, temples, mosques, shrines, as well as its traditional bazaars. The older suburbs of Karachi survive; some even retain their winding streets and open squares. The nineteenth and twentieth century British Quarters which flourished with commercial and port activities are largely intact. These boulevards, streets, quarters, and richly embellished stone buildings from that period are comparable to the nineteenth century historic areas of other major cities around the world, such as Cairo, Istanbul, Delhi, etc. Since Independence, the historical core of Karachi has been subjected to functional pressures which it is inherently incapable of confronting. The historic area is in acute danger and, if the present policies and practices of safeguarding only its monuments persist, only a fraction of old Karachi will remain as a measure of its cultural heritage. This book aims to initiate a process for the preservation of Karachi city’s historic tangible and intangible cultural assets by revalorization, and revitalizing its physical and socio-cultural characteristics as a distinct urban district of national cultural significance.
Yasmin Cheema holds a Diploma in Architecture from the National College of Arts, Lahore, and an MS in Restoration of Monuments and Historical Sites from the Middle Eastern University, Ankara. She has taught at National College of Arts, Lahore, and at Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, Karachi. She is a former Director, Heritage Support Cell, Department of Architecture and Planning, Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, Karachi.