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The MBI Al Jaber Public Lecture:
Saturday 5th August 2017 - 18.00
Seminar for Arabian Studies, The British Museum, The Clore Education Centre

Yemen’s Architectural Heritage in Peril

Trevor Marchand, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, SOAS

Yemen possesses one of the world’s finest treasure-troves of architecture, displaying a wondrous array of vernacular styles. Three of its ancient cities – Shibam, Ṣan‘ā’ and Zabīd – are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and a number of other towns and building complexes around the country await inclusion on that list. Each urban setting possesses a distinct ‘sense of place’, resulting from a mixture of native ingenuity, available construction materials, social relations, religious practices and local histories. Conflict and resistance, too, have contributed significantly to the history of Yemeni building design, town planning and civil engineering. The current hydra-headed conflict, however, involving international adversaries divided along political and sectarian lines, poses a threat of unprecedented scale to the country’s architectural heritage. The lecture will take stock of the damage incurred as well as some of the current efforts to safeguard buildings and to sustain conservation programmes. It will also address factors - in addition to military conflict - that represent perhaps more enduring challenges to the survival of Yemen’s architecture and traditional building practices.

Tickets are FREE but places are limited and must be booked in advance at:

For further information on the Seminar for Arabian Studies please go to:



Charity Reg. No. 1093439

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