Thursday, September 06, 2007

'Amiriyya Madrasah in Rada, Yemen (16th Century)

The 'Amiriya Madrasa in Rada, one of the largest monuments in Yemen, was commissioned by Sultan 'Amir bin abd al-Wahab of the Tahirid Dynasty. All in all, the 'Amiriya is the most flamboyantly ornate monument in the Yemen, a profusion of domes, arches, and niches on the outside, and a decorated delight on the inside, with superb carved stucco patterns and inscriptions and extraordinary painted frescoes whose colors were still vibrant, even after 500 years of neglect.

The physical restoration of the building has now been completed, its infrastructure services have been upgraded, a site museum has been installed on the ground floor, the carved stucco decoration in the prayer hall has been cleaned, and the mural paintings inside the prayer hall's six domes have been conserved by the Italian firm CCA.....During the restoration work it was decided that the Amiriya was probably founded as a palace, be it one with a very large and ornate prayer hall. Subsequently used, after a period of abandonment, as madrasa, the restored Amiriya now takes its place in Yemen's cultural patrimony as a palace-museum.

Funding for the restoration stage of the project came from the the Dutch and Yemeni governments, the latter through the General Organization for Antiquities and Museums.
TEXT FROM THE WEB SITE OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR YEMENI STUDIES
PHOTOGRAPHS COPYRIGHT BY CHRISTOPHER ANZALONE

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