Hadji Piada

Hadji Piada
A forgotten religious architecture

Hadji Piada, Afghanistan
2006 - 2009


The Association Giovanni Secco Suardo took part as the sole Italian organization in a scientific project aimed to studying and protecting the ancient Mosque of Hadji Piada (7th century), northern Afghanistan, in the neighbourhood of Mazar-I-Sharif.

Artistically and architecturally extraordinary, the Mosque is located in a region that represented, in the past, a nerve centre of the trades between Europe and the Orient and whose main city, Balkh, was founded by Alexander the Macedonian. This building is an exceptional example of religious architecture: forgotten for many centuries to European scientists, it was re-discovered in 1969 by the Soviet scientist Lisa Golombek during a mission.

Considered one of the most ancient Islamic buildings in Afghanistan – and one of the first buildings in eastern Islamic world- the Mosque of Hadji Piada (literally “The Mosque of Pilgrimage”) is developed upon a square layout that measures 20x20 metres. It is also known as the Mosque of Noh Gumbad for its nine domes that used to cover the sanctuary.
Although the domes are now collapsed, the arches that sustained them still exist and, like the majority of the remaining inner surfaces, are decorated with precious and ancient stuccoes, of probable Sassanid influence.
Thanks to an agreement signed in 2006 with DAFA (Delegazione Archeologica Francese in Afghanistan – archaeological French delegation in Afghanistan) – present in Afghanistan since 1922- the Association Giovanni Secco Suardo was member of the Scientific Committee leading actions of study and of renovation, through mission conducted by an international équipe made up of architects, engineers, archaeologists and restorers.

The activities concerning the project of structural consolidation of the arches were conceived and coordinated by Prof. Ugo Tonietti - department of Costruzioni, Università di Firenze (Italy).



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