Construction of dome at Shaklanza Mosque
Interior view of Shaklanza Mosque during construction of the dome © Daw‘an Mud Brick Architecture Foundation

Rehabilitating historic and religious landmarks in Yemen

Ilaria Manzini from the Prince Claus Fund shares her experiences of working on the Post-war Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in Yemen project, which was supported by the Cultural Protection Fund:

“Working with our project partners at Daw’an Mud Brick Architecture Foundation, the aim of this project was to rehabilitate four historic and religious landmarks in the Hadramut region – mosques, domes and shrines – that were targeted and destroyed by al Qaeda during the conflict in 2015.

In addition to restoring these buildings to their previous beauty and for use by the local communities, the project also aimed to strengthen the capacity of local builders and craftsmen to maintain their built cultural heritage, by training them in the restoration of mud brick buildings. This type of architecture, which requires highly specialised skills and techniques, played a key role historically in developing the unique urban culture of the region.

Cultural heritage that is meaningful to a specific community – especially one threatened by natural disasters, conflicts, or marginalised in its context – can be a powerful source of agency and hope for the future.

Because of our firm belief in the central role of communities in the safeguarding of what is important to them, the interest shown by members of different local communities towards the project has been of the outmost importance and very rewarding for us. 

Our project focused on a limited number of sites destroyed by attacks during the conflict in Yemen. It has contributed through small, yet very tangible actions to the collective efforts to restore the social, cultural, and economic fabric of the region. We plan to strengthen and broaden this impact by reconstructing and rehabilitating more sites in Hadramut and especially in the capital city of Mukalla, where some civil and cultural buildings damaged during the war have been identified. 

Once rehabilitated, these buildings could offer a public space to the local community where cultural and educational facilities could be hosted. The intended goal is to contribute to a process of recovery by healing some of the scars that the conflict has left in the urban landscape of the city.”

Al Habib Abu Bakr dome under construction
Al Habib Abu Bakr dome being treated with Saruj and Nurah coating © Daw‘an Mud Brick Architecture Foundation
Al Habib Abu Bakr dome under construction
Al Habib Abu Bakr domes during construction © Daw‘an Mud Brick Architecture Foundation
Al Habib Abu Bakr dome under construction
Al Habib Abu Bakr dome during rendering phases © Daw‘an Mud Brick Architecture Foundation

External links