Yemen is a land where the most ancient traditions survive, sheltered by the mountains from the ordinariness that the modern age imposes. Yemen remains astonishing: a realm of spontaneous architecture in which the smallest village is a work of art; homeland of incense and coffee; favoured by a unique climate which plants greenery in the midst of desert; stronghold of mountains "sculpted" by ingenious gardeners, terrace builders and irrigators; and last refuge of a tolerant Islam which has always made strangers welcome. Yet the traditions and heritage of this ancient country are once again in danger following unrest. The images in this book reflect some 20 years of devotion to a civilization that, so uniquely preserved, is already crumbling. Showing the two Yemens, still searching for a durable unity, this book opens the legendary gates of the Hadramawt, yesterday a forbidden land, where some of the most astonishing cities on earth are to be found. The Marechauxs first explored Yemen 20 years ago as young architects, and have returned each year since, to record aspects of the land and its beauty before it succumbed to modernization.
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