Cairo Castle in Taiz: History Falling into Ruin [Archives:1999/21/Last Page]

May 24 1999

The greatness and loftiness history grants to any civilization or nation is based on how much heritage and culture it has contributed to the human treasures of culture. That is, the ancient civilization or heritage any society has now is an indication of its deep roots in human history. Yemen is one these countries which history has gifted a great and rich cultural heritage. 
Yemenis are blessed by history which has been so generous with them in the sense that they have a lot of lofty heritage and historical monuments towering all over the country which date back thousands of years. But now, they are prone to destruction and disregard due to neglect on the part of the people in authority. One of these is the Cairo Castle in Taiz. 
Historically speaking, the Cairo castle is one of the famous historical castles of Yemen. It is said that it was built during the Rasulid state in 1045. It is also said that Abu Al-Futuh Bin Ali, the brother of Al-Mufadal, the ruler of the Rasulid state, lived in the castle. As a matter of fact, there is a suggestion that the castle might have been built in the pre-Islamic era. 
However, this has to be proved scientifically by doing some excavations. 
The castle played a very important role during the Rasuild state as it was used as a shelter during the political disturbances among the ruling family members. Omar Bin Ali Bin Rasul kept his family in the castle while he stayed at Al-Ganad, the capital of his state. During that time the given name to the castle was Dar Al-Adab or the “House of Art.” 
History is Falling Down 
Mr. Al-Izi Mohammed Mosleh, the director of Heritage Authority, Taiz branch, told Yemen Times: “The nature of the castle’s earth is such that it is chalky, which makes the soil solid during the hot season and loose in the rainy one. This brings a lot of salt to the base of the castle, which causes it to gradually erode.””The highly damaged parts of the castle are estimated at 5300 sq. m. The partially damaged parts amount to roughly 3500 sq. m, and there are many fissure and cracks in it as well. We need around US$ 1 million to overhaul it.” Mr. Al-Izi noted. The state of the castle is inconceivable. Seeing the walls of the castle collapsing stone by stone, one gets very upset and furious to see this historical monument withering away. What is more saddening is that the people living below the castle have started using the falling stones in building their houses. The falling stones, moreover, endanger the dwellers beneath the castle. 

The castle was probably last repaired and revamped during the epoch of the Imam. But, after the 26th September Revolution, the people in charge neglected it completely. Not only that, but it has been used up to now as a military barracks or base. Even now, the soldiers in the castle do not allow anybody to visit it. Most cynically, they refused once to give some students from Aden University, Department of History, access to the castle. The use of the castle for military purpose is entirely pointless. The castle should immediately given to the Heritage Authority of Taiz to take care of. Therefore, we send an SOS call to the bodies concerned to save the castle, for it is heartbreaking to see our history eroding away and we are kept mute, turning a blind eye to it. This is a call waiting for some concrete action! 
By: Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi 
Taiz Office Editor 
Yemen Times