Seyoun Palace, Yemen's historic treasure in peril

Seyoun (Yemen) (AFP) - Bright white, Seyoun Palace towers over the city in southeastern Yemen with its imposing structure but is in danger of collapsing after years of neglect and torrential rains that have hit the country at war.

Massive on the outside with its four corner towers and sober on the inside, the clay palace illustrates Yemen's descent into hell since the launch of the Houthi rebellion in 2014.

"If it is not restored quickly, it risks collapsing", fears Abdallah Barmada, an engineer specializing in the restoration of historical monuments, launching an appeal for international aid to save the palace.

"The base of the structure, the walls, the roofs are damaged and they must be repaired and maintained regularly," he adds to AFP.

Due to the conflict, authorities have struggled to mobilize funds to maintain Yemeni cultural heritage, such as this palace in the second city of Hadramout province.

The war between the government, backed since 2015 by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, and Iranian-backed rebels has devastated the country, killing tens of thousands and causing the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

Heavy rains have been added to the war in recent months, triggering floods killing dozens of people in the country.

The floods damaged sites classified as World Heritage by Unesco, notably in the city of Chibam, further west, nicknamed the "Manhattan of the desert" because of its tall adobe towers.

In the country's third-largest city, Taëz, the recently restored regional museum suffered from flooding and part of this former Ottoman palace collapsed last month.

Posted Date: 2020-11-21

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