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The Traveller's Magazine
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Earlier this month Saudi-led airstrikes that were targeting Shiite rebels destroyed some of Yemen’s historic houses in the centre of the capital city of Sanaa. The houses were one of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The attacks and destruction were highly criticised by the UN cultural agency. Human lives were lost as well as priceless architectural heritage. The impact of the missiles has flattened a half a dozen houses and caused cracks in surrounding ones. Major parts of the city’s old historic district are at risk of collapsing.

This part of the city dates back 2,500 years and is one of the most popular historic attractions in the Yemeni capital, famous for its decorated buildings that are made from packed earth and feature burnt brick towers. UNESCO calls it the “world’s oldest jewels of Islamic urban landscape.”

UNESCO’s general director, Irina Bokova, commented,

“I am shocked by the images of these magnificent many-storied tower-houses and serene gardens reduced to rubble…”

Other historic monuments have also suffered across Yemen, including the outside walls of Sanaa’s old city and the Ottoman era al-Owrdhi historical compound. While it’s not advised to book flights to Yemen right now, check out these 5 new UNESCO sites you have to visit.

Img: rod_waddington / Flickr cc.

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