Yemen’s world heritage site, the Old City of Sanaa, is under increasing threat of being carved out into an exclusive stronghold for Iran-backed Houthi militias and molded into an epicenter for sectarianism in the war-torn country, warned Sanaa-based Yemeni sources.
The distinctive brown and white residential towers of the Old City in Sanaa, Yemen, date back centuries. Amid heavy rains, floods, war and economic collapse, more than a hundred have recently seen their roofs partially collapse.
Residents call on Unesco to help preserve Yemeni city’s famous mud buildings, many dating from before the 11th century…
Recurring floods caused annually due to torrential rains threaten to finish off the destruction of UNESCO listed world heritage sites and distinctive buildings in the Yemeni capital Sanaa with their ochre brick facades and white latticework windows, experts say. Conservation efforts are already bogged down by the conflict between the Houthis and Saudi led coalition backed government and natural causes are only expediting damage that has been done by years of civil war.
Downpour damages distinctive brown and white mud brick homes in capital…
Thirty years after unification, Yemen is on the verge of fragmentation as a result of armed conflicts, regional rivalries and foreign interference.
Yemen’s three-year war has taken a heavy toll on Sanaa’s historic Old City, a dense warren of mosques, bath houses and 6,000 mud brick houses, which date from before the 11th century.
The Yemeni government responded Tuesday to the calls of the people and activists in the capital Sanaa and made an official appeal to UNESCO to intervene and save the Yemeni architectural treasures and cultural heritage from Houthi militias.
In an official statement, the Ministry of Culture denounced the “deliberate and systematic distortion and destruction campaigns” that have been carried out by Houthi militias against Yemen’s historical monuments for more than three years, most recently was in Sanaa, where they destructed historic buildings.
Members of the Houthi group have recently carried out a systematic campaign to paint the facades of historical buildings in the old city registered in UNESCO’s heritage cities, in the colors of the group’s sectarian slogans and distort its unique architectural style.
The government statement called on UNESCO to intervene to stop the militias’ destructing acts and “carry out its responsibility to guarantee and protect the heritage of the old city of Sanaa.”
The statement called on the UN organization to “exert all possible pressure to stop Houthi militias destructing acts.
Read more from source: Yemen Calls on UNESCO to Save Architectural Treasures from Houthis
As the war continues in Yemen leaving a massive human toll estimated at more than 10,000 deaths and 2 million people displaced, the UNESCO has rang the alarm bell regarding Yemen’s ancient monuments and historical sites at risk as hostilities continue unabated.
The UNESCO has shared the coordinates of 50 sites with militaries involved in the fighting. Although targeted hits have decreased, the sites are still vulnerable to the violence.
Among the endangered ancient sites, the Awwam Temple, which links a region now on the front lines of the Saudi-led war against Houthi rebels to Arabia’s pre-Islamic past.
Experts fear the temple, as well as other historic and cultural wonders across Yemen beyond those acknowledged by international authorities, remain at risk as the country’s stalemated war rages on.
“All the villages are historic in a way,” said Anna Paolini, the director of UNESCO’s regional office in Qatar that oversees Yemen and Gulf Arab nations. “They’re still heritage of the country. It’s sad to see what’s happening.”