Jules Pitt has sent to TradArch an extraordinary photo of a town in Yemen, which he notes is in the news. So it is. I suppose the civil war there (now it’s a civil war; what has it been these several years?) prevents journalists from traveling to sites like this, which suggest the Yemenis aren’t the antediluvian folk that the world makes of them from news of that benighted “country.” Pirates, rascally sects of nomadic villains grappling with what we are invited to conclude are equally rascally villains in the “capital” of Sana’a – Insana’a one wants to murmur under one’s breath. The president has fled the capital and is begging for help from fellow Arab leaders confabulating this weekend in Cairo. Saudi Arabia has sent in its jets, and hankers for the bomb, which the Iranian mullahs seem set to get their hands on first. Good grief! So no, let us not gild the lily, let alone the turd.
Yet with such loveliness sprung clearly from the aesthetic, architectural and urbanistic intuition of a backward population, a fond wish that the Yemenis transcend their travails must be in order. Click the link. As endearing as is the photograph Jules chose to send, the many others posted in “The Secret Cities of Yemen” in 2011 on the Kuriositas website are difficult to imagine in the context of what we think we know of Yemen. They are heart-rendingly sad given what we certainly do know of the fate of other works of art and architecture in lands contested by ISIS (though Yemen is contested by the other side, the Shia, at least for now).
Go to Kuriositas.com and then go figure.