Kabul’s buildings and the popcorn maker

6 09 2009

 Mosque songA few buildings to give you an idea of travelling around Kabul. The first is the small mosque across the river from the main bazaar. Note the mini minaret on the corner where the mullah would have stood and called his flock to prayer but in a sign of the times it just supports two large megaphone that do much of the work for him. At midpoint through Ramadan we have heard half the Koran and that’s additional to evening and morning prayers.

The picture below is taken looking across the main courtyard of the Great Serai, Turquoise Mountain’s central focus in Murad Khane. The TM’s building staff lean out of all openings made possible because the removeable  wooden screens allow for whole-wall ventilation in summer or closure in winter.

There are so many people now working on Murad Khane’s regeneration that you can’t fit them into one shot.

 A serai is a combined inn and trading house. These buildings are still integral to the fabric of Kabul Old Quarter’s society.

The Murad Khane construction team filling the main courtyard of the Great Serai

The Murad Khane construction team filling the main courtyard of the Great Serai

Kabul business centre overlooking the main bazaar
Kabul business centre overlooking the main bazaar

The next is the Kabul business centre which reminds me a little of Trellick Tower not far from my flat in West London. This is one of Kabul’s distinctly Russian buildings another is the old Russian officer’s mess perched on a mountain peak overlooking Kabul. It can only be described as a cross between aircrift control tower and a Bond lair. 

Interior view of part of the blast riddled warehouse that TM are about to restore as a crafts workshop.

Interior view of part of the blast riddled warehouse that TM are about to restore as a crafts workshop.

Finally a view inside the warehouse that Turquoise Mountain are about to renovate to give us more space for making handcrafts. Note the rockets holes in the roof. The shapes of the resulting blasts are clearly patterned on the walls and floor.

Just for fun here is a link that is worth looking at if only for the simple concept.

Afghan of the Week - The popcorn maker at the corner of the medan in Murad Khane

Afghan of the Week - The popcorn maker at the corner of the medan in Murad Khane

Afghan of the Week is the popcorn seller who sits making popcorn all day on the corner of the square between my office and the Jewellery School site. He wears the most impressive pair of ski goggles to protect him from the popping corn. Either side are the blacksmiths hammering scrap metal and melting down drinks cans and the rubber makers who turn old tyres into bungees, buckets and brakepads.

All quiet here although there was a bit of trouble outside Kabul on the road to Logar. My mason’s past a bombed army truck on the way to find stone for the window reveals.

DuncanDJ