Yemen: Skyscrapers in the Desert with Tiago Neiva - Context Travel

Yemen: Skyscrapers in the Desert with Tiago Neiva


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Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 3:00 PM EDT
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Yemen, nestled just below Saudi Arabia, is a forgotten country: a failed state in the midst of an on-going humanitarian crisis and long-running civil war. However, one thousand years ago, Yemen was a prosperous and vital actor on the world stage.  In this seminar, we will explore Yemen’s history, starting in antiquity, and focus on its impressive architecture including the amazing UNESCO World Heritage sites within its borders.

To classical writers, such as Strabo, Yemen was known as Arabia Felix, Fertile Arabia, a land of abundant spices, gold, and fields of frankincense and fragrant myrrh trees. With a millennial history and a strategic location on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen was naturally at the crossroads of multiple cultures and civilizations such as the Sabaeans, Romans, Sasanids, Arabs, Ottomans, and later the British. Located on important global trade routes, Yemen prospered and grew. Great cities were built, monumental inscriptions were drafted, and temples erected.

One of Yemen’s most remarkable achievements was its vernacular architecture. The high-rise mud-brick buildings were the world’s first skyscrapers. Not only were the traditional construction techniques in harmony with the local landscape aesthetically, but they were durable and suited to the climate, proving more durable than modern concrete. Decorated with ornate filigree details, the architecture of Yemen was not only built to resist Bedouin attacks but also to be beautiful.

Yemen’s historical, cultural and architectural heritage was recognized by UNESCO, who awarded the coveted World Heritage Site status to several locations with the desert nation. In this seminar, we will focus on The Old City of Sana’a, the Walled City of Shibam, and the historic town of Zabid, exploring the techniques used in their construction and their influence on global architectural styles. We will also look at the more subtle details that add richness to these great sites.

Led by an expert on Architecture and Art History, Tiago Neiva, this interactive seminar will explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Yemen. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Yemen’s history and how its architecture is unique in the world.

Tiago Miranda Neiva was born and raised in Lisbon. For several years he was Professor of Arts and Art History, having a Master's degree in Teaching of Visual Arts. He is currently working towards a PhD focused on the Art and Architecture of al-Andalus: the confluence between the Arab, Jewish and Christian medieval world. In recent years he has been working as a tour guide in his hometown, seeking to show and reveal its most intimate secrets through an authentic and passionate local vision.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
67%
(4)
33%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
P
P.A.
Breathtaking 'Manhattan in the Desert'

I had never heard of or seen these buildings before but was intrigued at how unusual they appear on the landscape. Tiago's style was really accessible and interesting, highly recommended.

A
A.

Fascinating seminar on a remote and exotic country, with especially good explanations of geography, architecture, culture, and contextual heritage. Tiago seems the perfect lecturer for this seminar.

J
J.
Yemen - an (unknown to me ) treasury of architecture

Knew nothing about Yemen other than current dire humanitarian situation. Tiago showed us many of the beautiful buildings. Who knew that there were 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites there..

d
d.
Very Interesting

I had seen photos of the Yemeni skyscrapers and was fascinated by them. This seminar fleshed out so many detail for me.

L
L.H.
Unusual subject, great illustrations

Worth it for the photos alone, which were fantastic!
A very architectural approach, - yes, I know the speaker is an architect, but I found it a little dry. I would have liked to know more about *how* people inhabit these buildings, and more about what they mean to the owners (they must mean a lot to have survived this long!).

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
67%
(4)
33%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
P
P.A.
Breathtaking 'Manhattan in the Desert'

I had never heard of or seen these buildings before but was intrigued at how unusual they appear on the landscape. Tiago's style was really accessible and interesting, highly recommended.

A
A.

Fascinating seminar on a remote and exotic country, with especially good explanations of geography, architecture, culture, and contextual heritage. Tiago seems the perfect lecturer for this seminar.

J
J.
Yemen - an (unknown to me ) treasury of architecture

Knew nothing about Yemen other than current dire humanitarian situation. Tiago showed us many of the beautiful buildings. Who knew that there were 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites there..

d
d.
Very Interesting

I had seen photos of the Yemeni skyscrapers and was fascinated by them. This seminar fleshed out so many detail for me.

L
L.H.
Unusual subject, great illustrations

Worth it for the photos alone, which were fantastic!
A very architectural approach, - yes, I know the speaker is an architect, but I found it a little dry. I would have liked to know more about *how* people inhabit these buildings, and more about what they mean to the owners (they must mean a lot to have survived this long!).