Turquoise Mountain Foundation

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Turquoise Mountain Trust (in Persian, Bonyad-e Ferozkoh) is a non-governmental organization operating in Afghanistan, legally established in Scotland. It has the three-fold objective of regenerating historic urban areas, renewing traditional Afghan arts and architecture, and spurring the sustainable development of the nation’s craft industry. It is named after Turquoise Mountain, the greatest indigenous Afghan capital of the Middle Ages.

Turquoise Mountain was founded in 2006 by HRH The Prince Charles of Wales in partnership with former President of Afghanistan HE Hamid Karzai, Turquoise Mountain is a non-profit, non- governmental organization specializing in urban regeneration, business development, and education in traditional arts and architecture. It provides jobs, skills, and a renewed sense of national pride to Afghan women and men. Rory Stewart was the Executive Chairman until shortly after his election to the UK Parliament in May 2010.

The charity's 2008 income was £4.1 million.[1] Funding has been provided by a number of government agencies, public and private donors, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA),[2] the Government of Afghanistan, the Government of India, the Blue Moon Fund, Reach Out To Asia, the Kathy Evans Afghan Education Trust, The Bonita Trust, The Prince's Charities, The Kingdom of Bahrain, HH The Amir of Kuwait, the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation (Saudi Arabia) and the British Council.[3]


Since 2006, Turquoise Mountain has:

1. Set up Afghanistan’s premier arts education institution, the Turquoise Mountain Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture, which has trained over 250 artisans in traditional arts and which won the 2013 award for best vocational art training centre in Afghanistan from the Afghan Government TVET section. Students graduate from three-year programmes with a vocational diploma recognised by the Afghan Ministry of Education and an internationally accredited City & Guilds certificate. A total to 187 artisans (48 female, 139 male) have graduated since 2009.

2. Restored and built over 112 historic and traditional-style buildings in Murad Khane and cleared over 34,973 cubic metres of rubbish from the streets of the Old City. Installed full water supply, electricity, sanitation and paving throughout the community.

3. Established an internationally recognised brand, profiled in over a hundred international publications, that has sold over US$3 million worth of Afghan crafts to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

4. Curated and led major international exhibitions of Afghan crafts from the Venice Biennalle to a current US$4million exhibition in the Museum of Islamic Arts in Doha and Leighton House Museum, London.

5. Set up a model community health centre serving almost 20,000 patients a year, and established a primary school and supplementary classes for the children of Murad Khane.

It has three primary programmes:

1. Education

In 2006 Turquoise Mountain established the Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture. The Institute was recently approved by City & Guilds and is therefore Afghanistan’s only internationally accredited vocational education institution. The Institute’s master craftsmen are training a new generation of artisans, as an essential part of the revival of Afghanistan’s economy and cultural identity.

The Institute, with a staff and student body of almost 200 people, is composed of four Schools:

  • School of Calligraphy & Painting
  • School of Woodwork
  • School of Jewellery & Gem-Cutting
  • School of Ceramics

2. Urban Regeneration

Murad Khane is a historic quarter of Kabul on the banks of the Kabul River, home to a multi-ethnic community and a thriving bazaar that attracts 10,000 visitors a week. Before Turquoise Mountain began working in the area, it was buried under two metres of rubbish, it had no running water, drainage or electricity, and the community’s homes were collapsing. In 2006, Turquoise Mountain was formally petitioned by the community of Murad Khane to preserve and restore the area. There is now a comprehensive regeneration programme, which is restoring historic buildings, installing infrastructure and working to provide basic healthcare, education and employment to the community.

Turquoise Mountain has installed an integrated fully piped water treated sewage, electricity and water supply system which will provide running water for domestic and fire use, enclosed sewage removal and treatment and a reliable source of electricity in all of Murad Khane. In partnership with the Government of Afghanistan and the Kabul Urban Regeneration Project (KURP) this project was the first system of its kind in the city and is intended to be a case study to be replicated in other areas of Kabul.

3. Business Development

The Business Development programme works to expand commercial opportunities for the Afghan crafts industry by linking high quality products to existing client demand abroad in its Design & Production Studio, which is equipped to produce large scale commissions, combining design and technical expertise in wood, ceramics, calligraphy and jewellery.

Examples of the commissions that Turquoise Mountain has completed include a suite, The Prince's Lodge,[4] in the Connaught Hotel, London.


  1. ^ Turquoise Mountain Trust, Registered Charity no. SC037343 at the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
  2. ^ Canada launches partnership with the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, Government of Canada - Afghanistan Task Force, 2008-06-09, retrieved 2010-01-02 
  3. ^ Turquoise Mountain Brochure (PDF), Turquoise Mountain Foundation, 2009, retrieved 2009-10-22 
  4. ^ The Prince's Lodge, The Connaught Hotel, retrieved 2009-11-23 

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