abdullah al hadrami: thula fort restoration in yemen
original content
may 06, 2013
abdullah al hadrami: thula fort restoration in yemen


‘thula fort restoration’ by abdullah al-hadrami, thula, yemen
image © cemal emden, courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 

 

ancient lands are the homes of thousands of years of history sometimes preserved to various degrees, sometimes forgotten, sometimes destroyed.
yemen is such a land, whose first millennium clay towers of the sabaean civilization are amongst the decaying treasures the country has to offer.
when the thula fort was threatened by the construction of a new roadway, the thula community under the directorship of architect abdullah al-hadrami
came together with help of the social fund for development to begin the restoration process in order to protect the priceless structures. part of the
project included the reconstruction of several troglodyte structures including burial ground and agricultural terrace walls, the bab al mayah gate,
watch towers, paths, waterways, and the currently-active cistern. a complex network of trails switchback up the rocky cliffs, made from excavations in
the stone and dry-stacked masonry barriers. using only the local material removed from carving into the mountainside, all man-made structures are
perfectly integrated ecologically and aesthetically into their natural context. the restoration continued the tradition to make the spaces habitable and
restore a valuable piece of history to its people, using only the necessary contemporary building methods needed to secure the durability of the buildings.
efforts also led to the discovery of previously hidden artifacts as well, uncovering an archaeological site complete with gates and walls that may offer a
more detailed picture of the ancient local civilization.

 

the philanthropic and architectural success of the project achieved a spot on the shortlist for the famed aga khan award for architecture.

 

 


video courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


aerial view of part of the site showing restored walls
image © cemal emden, courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


series of restored towers
image © cemal emden, courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


(left) trails leading up to the higher structures, carved into the mountainside
(right) original cistern
image © cemal emden, courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


restored cistern
image © cemal emden, courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


image © cemal emden, courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


bird’s eye view
image courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


inside the cistern reveals the sense of scale
image courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


entrance through the fortress walls
image courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


image courtesy of the aga khan development network

 

 


site form a distance
image courtesy of the aga khan development network

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