The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, July 21, 2019

Historic Yemen town fights to survive as war closes in
A picture taken on February 24, 2018 shows a view of the ancient city of Zabid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site currently on the list of World Heritage in danger, in Yemen's western Hodeidah province. Once Yemen's capital and famed as an architectural marvel of early Islam, the town of Zabid is fighting to survive as a brutal war closes in on its fortified walls. ABDO HYDER / AFP.

by Abdo Hyder

ZABID (AFP).- Once Yemen's capital and famed as an architectural marvel of early Islam, the town of Zabid is fighting to survive as a brutal war closes in on its fortified walls.

The sand-coloured town overlooking the country's west coast was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993 for its centuries-old urban planning and architecture, including the world's fifth oldest mosque.

Riven by neglect and poverty, it was placed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage in Danger seven years later.

Yemen's three-year war, which has killed nearly 10,000 people and pushed the country to the brink of famine, is now threatening the fate of Zabid.

So far the town has been spared in the battle between Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels and a government allied with a military coalition, led by Saudi Arabia.

But a fight for nearby Hodeida, home to Yemen's most vital port, has raised fears the violence is closing in on Zabid.

Ahmed Hussein Ahmed says his home was damaged last month, as government forces clashed with Huthi rebels nearby.

Like other residents, he fears for both his family and his town, where homes built from baked bricks give the centuries-old skyline its trademark sandy hue against the bright blue Yemeni sky but offer little protection.

"Our homes are built of local mud," Ahmed told AFP, seated near one of the old wooden windows carved into the wall of his brick home.

"Another blow and the roof will cave in on us".

'Belongs to the world'
From the 13th to 15th centuries, Zabid was the capital of Yemen before being dethroned by Sanaa.

The town predates the foundation of Islam but is an architectural marvel of the faith: four gates surround the city, where a web of narrow cobblestone streets links a souk with quieter residential areas.

It also features the highest concentration of mosques in Yemen, one of the world's first Islamic universities and canals to supply water to residents.

Experts have warned Zabid may not be able to withstand more blows, even if fighting remains confined to its outskirts.

"These are centuries-old buildings. They cannot bear shelling or even the vibrations of missiles," said Yemeni restoration specialist Hussein Abdulrahman.

"The world should be fighting to preserve this."

In Zabid, shops that resemble little castles are still open and traffic flows through the streets.

Also open is the Zabid Public Library, a tiny gem hidden in the basement of a old house, with 10 arched and engraved windows to allow daylight in.

Mukhtar Abdulsamad, head of the general authority for historic preservation in Zabid, fears one of the last pillars of his country's heritage may soon be demolished.

"We appeal to international organisations, and UNESCO, to prioritise the protection of Zabid," Abdulsamad said.

"This town belongs to the world and not to Yemen alone."

'At the gates'
Residents and international organisations fear the Saudi-led coalition's warplanes may hit the town itself, as it is still under the control of the Huthi rebels.

The coalition did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The fighting in Hodeida governorate is at the gates of the historic city of Zabid, fanning fears for the fate of its cultural heritage," said Alexandre Faite, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross's delegation in Yemen.

Zabid overlooks a river 75 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of Hodeida, the rebel-held Red Sea port city which faces a naval blockade by the Saudi-backed government.

Hodeida is the main conduit for aid into the nation of 28 million people, 70 percent of whom face starvation as poverty, violence and cholera stalk the country.

In 2014, the Huthi rebels seized the port in a takeover of territory that included the Yemeni capital.

The government has pushed to recapture Hodeida in recent months.

In November, the Saudi-led coalition imposed a total blockade on the Hodeida port, as well as the country's main international airport, in retaliation for missiles launched by the rebels towards Riyadh.

The blockade sparked harsh condemnation by the UN and has since been partially lifted.

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

March 6, 2018

Louvre brings 'unprecedented' show to Iran's National Museum in Tehran

Gladstone Gallery opens an exhibition of historic works by Robert Mapplethorpe

First major international exhibition of Sally Mann's work of the South premieres at the National Gallery of Art

Max Beckmann's painting "Eisgang" to remain at the Städel Museum

Sotheby's Contemporary Curated Auction brings $26.4 million

Groundbreaking exhibition brings centuries of royal treasures from Jodhpur, India, to the U.S. for the first time

Tessier Sarrou & Associates to offer 2,000 photographs and documents from the Normandie

Fans mark 65 years since Stalin's death as rehabilitation gathers speed

Historic Yemen town fights to survive as war closes in

The Mennello Museum receives its largest gift ever from founder Michael A. Mennello

"Manod: The Nation's Treasure Caves" remembered in exhibition at the National Gallery

Pedro Reyes returns to London's Lisson Gallery with a fictional, pan-historical museum of sculpture

Heather James Fine Art announces new galleries & exhibits by Warhol, Fangor & more

Yoko Ono's sister launches debut London exhibition

First survey exhibition of Wim Delvoye in Korea on view at Gallery Hyundai

Pangolin London presents a compelling new body of work by George Taylor

Set of three pastel drawings by Claude Monet will be offered at Woodshed Art Auctions

Fondazione Merz opens the first major museum show in Italy of artist Fatma Bucak

Pook & Pook with Noel Barrett to auction fine clockwork toys and trains

Currier Museum presents the works of internationally renowned artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Centre Pompidou presents a monumental piece by artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

National Portrait Gallery acquires family photographs of footballer Bobby Moore

Exhibition of new paintings by Carrie Moyer on view at Mary Boone Gallery

Toledo Museum of Art announces two curatorial staff promotions

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Original 'Star Wars' creators lift lid on special effects challenges

2.- Lost '$170 million Caravaggio' snapped up before French auction

3.- Mansell's 'Red Five' on pole for Bonhams sale

4.- Impressionism's 'forgotten woman' shines in new Paris show

5.- Sotheby's to auction the best-surviving NASA videotape recordings of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

6.- Exhibition explores Dutch and Spanish painting of the 16th and 17th centuries

7.- Cyprus discovers 'first undisturbed Roman shipwreck'

8.- Sotheby's unveils 'Treasures from Chatsworth' with Leonardo Da Vinci drawing, Lucian Freud portraits, and more

9.- Infamous botched art restoration in Spain gets makeover

10.- 1958 Gibson Flying V Korina played by Dave Davies to grab center stage in Heritage Auctions' sale

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful