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Restoration of the Amiriya Complex

Technical Information

  • Award Cycle:
    Award Recipient
    Country of origin:
    Rada, Yemen
    General Organisation for Antiquities, Museums and Manuscripts, Government of the Netherlands
    Selma Al-Radi
    2'000'000 m²

The Amiriya was built at the beginning of the sixteenth century by the last ruler of Yemen’s Tahirid dynasty, Amir Ibn `Abd Al-Wahab. It consists of a highly ornamented and painted prayer hall, a madrasa and the private living quarters of the sultan. At the beginning of the 1980s, the Amiriya was in a precarious condition. Any conventional preservation project would have been a costly undertaking, so the project director developed a well-defined philosophy of restoration which made pragmatic use of traditional methods of construction, using local stone masons, labour and materials.

Over 500 craftsmen and artisans were trained and employed by this project. Foreign experts were only employed during the last phase of restoration, dealing with the conservation of the tempera wall paintings. In keeping with the spirit of the project, they have trained local people in the craft. With its reliance on local knowledge and experience, the restoration of the Amiriya represents a milestone in the protection of cultural heritage in Yemen.

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