The ancient site of Thula Fort in Thula, Yemen is undergoing an extensive preservation effort under the leadership of architect Abdullah Al-Hadrami. The project, which was recently shortlisted for an Aga Khan Award for Architecture, will reinforce the expansive site to preserve the heritage of the Sabaean period, which thrived in the First Century BC. The ruins, which include a fort, burial grounds, walls of agricultural terraces, the Bab al Mayah gate and more, will be repaired for future generations to study and enjoy.
The site of the ancient Thula Fort was recently threatened by the plans for construction of a road, which would disrupt the fragile architecture of the ruins. The people of Thula reacted, and the preservation project was born. In order to protect their heritage, the project will begin by rebuilding the walls of both the burial grounds and the agricultural terraces, that served the area over two thousand years ago.
The main focus will be on the massive ancient stone architecture, which although has held up over the years, needs to be reinforced for longevity of the site. Historic stone watch towers, paths and waterways wind up and down throughout the hilly region, and with the addition of modern roads and structures, have received more wear and tear in the last century than ever before. Aside from these renovations, the project will also preserve the ancient cistern, that is still in use by the people of Thula today. During the early phases of the preservation, even more ancient Sabaean sites were discovered, including gates and walls.
The project will help to preserve the culture and important artifacts in Yemen, while acting as a model for historic preservation to other projects.