Jolyon Leslie tells the century-old tale of an Afghan garden named Qal’a-ye Fatuh. This garden and its adjunct building are witnesses to the life of Alim Khan, Emir of Buchara, who spent twenty years of exile in this retreat. After Afghanistan’s occupation by the Russian Empire in 1868, and attacks by the Turkish general lieutenant Enver Pascha, Alim Khan’s home, Fergana, receded into a dim distance. Many traces tell about the original elegance and beauty of the edifice and its garden, as well as about the violent events and battles that happened there. Since 1996, members of Al-Qaeda have settled in the neighborhood, and, according to Leslie, new craters are to be found in the landscape—carved by “smart rockets.” “The garden of exile” is to be studied like an organic notebook, the pages of which are grounded in the earth.
Jolyon Leslie (*1956) is an architect based in Afghanistan since 1989.