the 'Amiriya in Rada
the restoration of a sixteenth-century madrasa in the Yemen


the restoration project       conservation of the paintings       training course

This site is still under construction. Additional sections will iniclude a virtual version of the museum that is being installed in the Amiriya. In the meantime, please look around this site as a demonstration of what's to come.

the Amiriya
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 are still vibrant, even after 500 years of neglect.

By the early 1980's the 'Amiriya was in a very advanced state of disintegration. To save it from imminent collapse, a bilateral agreement was signed between the Netherlands and Yemeni governments in which they agreed to restore the building and share the costs of the work. The actual restoration work was undertaken by traditional craftsmen under the guidance of a master stone mason, usta Izzi Mohammad Gas'a, using only traditional methods. The project is under the general supervision of Dr. Selma al-Radi and Mr. Yahya Al-Nasiri, Director of Antiquities for Beidha Governorate.

At present, the physical restoration of the building is almost finished as is the museum that is being installed on the ground floor. THe only remaining major tasks are the conservation of the painted domes and the carved stucco in the prayer hall. The conservation of the dome paintings is at the same time serving as a training course to prepare technicians from the Yemeni antiquities service to become painting conservators.


Funding for the restoration stage of the project came from the the Dutch and Yemeni governments. The painting conservation is being underwritten by grants from the Dutch and Yemeni governments as well as by the Yemeni Social Fund for Development. The U.S. Department of State's Ambassador's Fund for Cultural preservation is contributing to the cost of the training program. Non-Yemeni government funding for the multi-national reconstruction project is administered through AIYS.

The painting conservation project is organized by CCA and administered by AIYS.

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