Architecture


يقرب الله لي بالعافيه والسلامه … وصل الحبيب الأغن
ذاك الحبيب الذي حاز الحلا والوسامه … وكل معنى حسن
ونسأل الله تعالى عودنا من تهامه … الى سفح صنعاء اليمن
لأن صنعا سقاها الله فيض الغمامه … منزل حوت كل فن

ما مثل صنعاء اليمن … كلا ولا أهلها
صنعاء حوت كل فن … يا سعد من حلها
تطفي جميع الشجن … ثلاثَ في سفحها
الماء وخضرة رباها الفايقه والوسامه … وكل معنى حسن
كم يضحك الزهر فيها من دموع الغمامه … فيا سقاها وطن

يا ليت شعري متى الأيام تسمح برجعه … إلى مدينة أزال
ونستعيد ما مضى يا سيد أفديك جمعه … وطيب بساط المطال
لأن من بعدكم ما كف لي قط دمعه … والشوق بي لا يزال
وكلما غردت ورقاء بأعلى البشامه … طلقت طيب الوسن

أهيم في عشقتك … والدمع جاري غزير
والروح في قبضتك … وانا بحبك أسير
والقلب من فرقتك … يكاد نحوك يطير
فارحم أسير الهوى من قد تزايد غرامه … إن لم تكن له فمن
لأنني لا أطيق الهجر ذا والعدامه … ولا أحتمل ذا الشجن

تظن يا منيتي ان قد نسيت أو تناسيت … او خنت عهدي القديم
شاحلف براسك بأني فيك من حين وليت … أبكي و ساعه واهيم
ولا حلى لي سواك و لا بغيرك تسليت … يمين والله عظيم
يا ناس ما حيلة المشتاق في ريم رامه … ما حيلة ابن الحسن

يا ربنا يا مجيب … عجل لنا بالرواح
لوصل ذاك الحبيب … بالأنس والإنشراح
والدهر ذاك الكئيب … قد تقضًى وراح
سهل لنا منك باللطف الخفي والكرامه … وعافنا واعف عن
صلي وسلم على طه شفيع القيامه .. والأل ما المزن شن


al-Qubba Husseiniya, a Shia shrine, being blown up in the city of Mosul.

Hollywood is known for creating absurd scenarios, especially with special effects of explosions and cars flying through the air. The real damage is done in war with bombs ripping apart buildings and bodies. And then there is the wanton destruction of buildings out of sheer hatred. The would-be caliphate that has taken nominal control of a large swathe of Syria and Iraq is an affront to everyone, including fellow Muslims in Syria and Iraq. There will be no new caliphate created out of such callous regard for human life and eventually the rebel leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will follow Saddam Hussein to the netherworld. But the destruction in the meantime is mean indeed. In addition to the men gunned down in Mosul and elsewhere, bulldozers and bombs are destroying some of the splendid Iraqi shrines from the real caliphates. It is a sad day (far too many sad days, weeks, months and years) for Syria, Iraq, Muslims worldwide and the entire world. But the leader of ISIS cannot erase history, no matter how many shrines and mosques he blows up.



Illegal excavations and military use have recently endangered Palmyra, Syria, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo: UNESCO/Ron von Oers

by Shatha Almutawa, American Historical Association, April 2014

A car bomb exploded outside the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo on January 24, 2014. The Egyptian Heritage Rescue Team arrived on the scene and began to assess the damage and prepare artifacts to be moved to another building. Trained by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, the Egyptian volunteers worked with museum staff until all the artwork was safely relocated.

In Syria, following the destruction of the minaret at Aleppo’s Umayyad Mosque last spring, people made their way to the mosque to save the stones for later rebuilding. Some lost their lives in the process. The mosque had been used by rebels, the Syrian army was attacking from the outside, and fighting continued as volunteers worked to protect the stones. As political instability continues in the wake of the Arab Spring, cultural heritage sites and objects are often endangered.

Scholars and activists working on issues relating to the preservation of cultural heritage in the Middle East convened on February 28 at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery to discuss the Arab Spring’s impact on monuments, historic neighborhoods, and culture in the region. Lisa Ackerman, executive vice president and chief operating officer at World Monuments Fund, spoke about the importance of providing training to communities around historic sites in times of peace and after conflicts, so that locals can preserve their own heritage. She also mentioned the reality that in times of war, troops are trained to find strategic locations to use as bases; historic sites, as she explained in a later e-mail, “are often located in strategic positions with existing infrastructure, such as roads and nearby accommodations, or, as we’ve seen in Syria, are often situated at the highest points, providing a location advantage.” As an example, the US Army in Iraq chose Babylon for its Camp Alpha, which resulted in damages to its ancient walls and gates. (more…)

So if you were to pick the ten most dangerous cities in the world, what city in the Middle East do you think would be near the top of the list? Mogadishu, by the way, is number 7 and Peshawar, Pakistan is number two. So would you believe that number 3 is Sanaa? Sanaa more dangerous than Kabul, Aleppo or Baghdad? This is what an Internet top-ten list says, although I seriously doubt the person or machine compiling the list has ever been to Sanaa. And dangerous for whom exactly? Here is what the blurb says:

A politically instable country, Yemen has its share of problems. That being said, the capital city, Sana’a, is one of the most dangerous places in the entire world. Despite the best efforts of US allies, the city remains a high risk destination. Those who do make it there enjoy visiting the Old City, a section of Sana’a full of beautifully designed buildings from a more peaceful time.

Indeed Yemen is unstable, but there are relatively few deaths reported there and life goes on pretty much as usual for most Yemenis living there. I know that there is instability in Yemen but the word “instable” for me conjurs up Dodge City and the OK corral. Sanaa may have its security problems, but I will take it to the destruction going on in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan any day.


Prince in a Garden Courtyard. Folio from an illustrated manuscript (detail). 1525-30, Iran. Opaque watercolor, ink, gold, and silver on paper, 8 9/16 x 4 3/4in. (21.7 x 12.1cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Rogers Fund, 1911 (11.39.1)

Islamic Art, Culture, and Politics: The Connections

Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 6 pm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

With Peter Brown, Yasmine El Rashidi, Haleh Esfandiari, Shaul Bakhash, and Navina Najat Haidar, Curator, Department of Islamic Art

The New York Review of Books and Met Museum Presents examine the living traditions of the Islamic world, in the setting of modern conflict and variations in Muslim culture. Editor Robert Silvers brings together a group of contributors for a panel discussion on the interconnectedness of art and ethos.

Save $5 per ticket with code NYRB14 at metmuseum.org. Offer expires March 30.


January 2013: Syrian government troops take position in a heavily damaged area in the old city of Aleppo; AFP/GETTY

There is a well-known, and after 2003 quite apt, proverb in Arabic: “After the destruction of Basra” (Ba’d kharab Basra). It originally referred to a slave revolt in Basra, the southern Iraqi port, in the 9th century. But it still resonates a millennium later. The savage violence that has left Syria in turmoil not seen since the days of the Mongols has now reduced major parts of one of the splendid cities of the Middle East to rubble. Now we see the destruction of Aleppo (Halab in Arabic), once Syria’s second largest city, with little evidence of a resolution of the fighting. Even the old suq has been destroyed beyond recognition. UNESCO designated Aleppo a World Heritage site, but this status has not saved it from massive destruction.


The Aleppo of the recent past

For the last three months the government of Bashir al-Asad has been dropping barrels — more than a thousand — of barrel bombs, making much of the city a ghost town. Some estimates indicate that 90% of Aleppo’s population has been forced out.

Sad pictures are readily available on the internet and on Youtube. But the horror of kharab continues. It appears that al-Asad is content to be the dictator of Damascus and let the rest of Syria be damned. Of course, he has his accomplices, the fanatic jihadists who are as vicious as the regime they are intent on toppling. Meanwhile the Syrian people suffer and the rest of the world either ignores this or makes things worse by supporting one side or the other with arms. If only we had a new proverb: ba’d kharab this insanity!

There is a wealth of video documentation of Yemen’s historical sites. One of these sites is the fortress of Habb in Ba‘dan, with a spectacular view of the surrounding area. For a video visit by Ali Dawud, click here.


حصن التعكر في محافظة إب .. من اشهر القلاع الحربيه في التاريخ اليمني القديم

صحافة نت 26 نوفمبر 2013

استطلاع / محمد مزاحم / جبل التعكر من أشهر الحصون والقلاع الحربية في التاريخ اليمني القديم لا سيما في عهد الدولة الصليحية.. عندما تفكر بالذهاب إليه.. لمعرفة تلك الأسرار التي تحدث عنها المؤرخون، فإن ذلك يتطلب منك المرور على مدينة جبلة التي تقع شمال شرق التعكر، والتي ارتبط اسمها باسم الملكة أروى بنت أحمد الصليحي وقد جعلت من جبلة العاصمة السياسية لدولتها ومن جبل التعكر منتجعاً سياحياً لها خاصة في موسم الأمطار والإخضرار..

عندما تصل إلى حصن أو جبل التعكر “كما يحب تسميته المؤرخون” فأنك لن تنسى فيما بعد هذا المكان فالحصن لا تجد شبراً من الأرض التي حوله إلا يسيطر عليها الإخضرار..

إضافة إلى أن موقع الحصن الذي يرتفع حوالي “3000” متر فوق سطح البحر يجعلك تسبح في ملكوت الله حيث تستطيع وأنت في قمته أن تمد نظرك إلى أبعد ما يمكن أن يتصوره المرء حيث يطل الجبل من الناحية الجنوبية الغربية على مدينة ذي السفال وأجزاء من السياني ومن ناحية الشمال يمكن مشاهدة مدينة جبلة والوقش وسائلة جبلة ومفرق جبلة أما من الجهة الجنوبية الشرقية فيمكن مشاهدة مدينة السياني وعندما تطل من أعالي جبل “التعكر” فأنك حينها ستشعر وكأنك طائر يطير بجناحيه في السماء، وتزيد لديك أحاسيس الفرح والسعادة عندما تنقل نظرك من جهة إلى أخرى لتشاهد الفضاء الواسع الأفق الرحب، والمناطق الجميلة دائمة الاخضرار والتي يتجه المزارعون لزراعتها ورعايتها ومن ثم حصادها.

وأنت في أعلى قمة جبل التعكر وتحديداً في وسط الحصن المتهالك حالياً فإنك سترى جبل صبر الذي يأتي إليك بكل ما احتوى من عظمة وجمال وتعرجات ليقول لك ها أنا المنافس الحتمي لجبل التعكر، فتدرك عندها أنك بين عظيمين ولا مقارنة بينهما.
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