The pressures of modern living are becoming too much for the Old City of Sana'a in the North Yemeni capital.
GV Sana'a city. (3 SHOTS)
GV Narrow streets of old city.
SV Tourists look at beautiful buildings. (2 SHOTS)
SV Builder making bricks to repair buildings. (2 SHOTS)
GV TILT DOWN PAN Old buildings surrounded by modern streets.
SV Top of building crumbling away.
GV Car travelling through narrow market streets.
SV Italian visitor studies old buildings and streets. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: The pressures of modern living are becoming too much for the Old City of Sana'a in the North Yemeni capital. Many buildings are crumbling and both the North Yemeni and foreign governments are determined to save the city from destruction. The problems include the lack of a drainage system. Each house has a hole underneath it which takes all the refuse. These holes are becoming larger and affecting the buildings' foundations; some houses have cracked as a result and threaten to collapse. The streets in the old city are too narrow for today's traffic and few of the hoses are equipped with modern facilities. The earthquake which rocked Yemen last year caused cracks in houses and people are now afraid to live in them. The Old City is regarded as unique both architecturally and historically. Much of the architecture dates back to pre-Islamic times and the abstract designs covering the exteriors are stunning. Most buildings are six floors high, although some go up to nine floors and they are built of stones, sticks or mud. In an effort to preserve the area, UNESCO has done a survey on how to restore the buildings. Now the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to spend one million dollars on another survey which should be completed by June next year. Work will then start in a small area of the old city. The French and German governments have expressed interest in carrying out similar work. Residents of the city are delighted that someone is taking responsibility for the restoration. Repairs for individual owners are prohibitively expensive and many are moving to new flats and villas in the new city.