UNESCO Lists Sana’a, Shibam in World Heritage List at Risk




UNESCO World Heritage Center has listed Shibam and Sana’a cities to the World Heritage List at risk, due to the Saudi-UAE-led war on Yemen since March 2015.

The inclusion of the two cities in the list of endangered heritage is a clear call to save them from the devastating war ravaging the country before facing the threat of getting out of the list.

In addition to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, the war has contributed to the destruction of Yemen’s rich heritage, which gives the Yemenis a sense of identity and belonging to a civilization that is deeply rooted in history.

The ancient walled city of Shibam, built in the 16th century and has been described as a ‘Manhattan’ of the desert because of its tower-like structures, is an example of urban planning. It was placed on the World Heritage List in 1982 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

After being destroyed by the aggression on Yemen for nearly 5 years, the UN has incorporated the old Sana’a, a city of great historical importance and was a major center of Islam since the seventh and eighth centuries, on the list of world heritage in 1986.

The old city of Sana’a, with its large mosque, its mud brick houses, its colored glass windows and its markets is about 2500 years old.  It is among the oldest inhabited cities in the world.

Yemeni heritage officials said the 12th-century Mehdi mosque and traditional red brick houses were particularly affected by US-Saudi air strikes.

This post originally ran on Almasirah English