Photo taken on Dec. 31, 2019 shows a room inside a house with Qamaria windows in Sanaa, Yemen. Ancient Yemeni old city of Sanaa always captures visitors' eyes with its unique architecture of windows which refect beautiful shining colors and are made of stained glass and gypsum plasters. But the ancient architectural handicraft is at risk of disappearing mainly because of the civil war. Instead, many windows are now made of aluminum. (Photo by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua)
SANAA, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Ancient Yemeni old city of Sanaa always captures visitors' eyes with its unique architecture of windows which refect beautiful shining colors and are made of stained glass and gypsum plasters.
But the ancient architectural handicraft is at risk of disappearing mainly because of the civil war. Instead, many windows are now made of aluminum.
Locally known as Qamaria, which came from the Arabic meaning of the moon, the window allows the moonlight in and blocks prying eyes.
The unique window architecture helps natural light enter the dark rooms of Yemeni houses during the continuous power outages since the outbreak of the civil war more than four years ago.
However, the demand for Qamarias has sharply decreased due to the war and the needs increased for the imported modern aluminum windows preferred by the modern architectural styles.
"The war has affected us heavily. Before the war, we used to receive new demands every day for making Qamaria windows, but now it becomes rare, while many prefer modern aluminum windows," Mohammed Al-Wassabi, a craftsman, told Xinhua from his workshop in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.
Al-Wassabi, whose family has been in the business for hundreds of years, lamented the decline in the traditional industry.
The war erupted in late 2014 after the Iranian-allied Houthi group stormed Sanaa and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.
The local Sanaa residents, however, are strongly in love with the traditional architecture and its geometric patterns that date back to hundreds of years ago and they enjoy boasting about their ancestors' heritage.
"Qamaria is the vital part of the Yemeni cultural and architectural heritage for thousands of years. So we love it," said Majid al-Awlaqi, a local resident.
Resident Amin al-Shami said that comparing Qamaria with the modern aluminum window, the latter needs heavy curtain to maintain the privacy of the house which blocks out natural light from streaming in.
"Qamaria makes the internal and external view of the house very beautiful and its colored glass lets the streaming of moonlight and sunlight into the rooms, creating a distinctive colorful atmosphere," al-Shami added.
The old city of Sanaa is inscribed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The city has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. The 6,000 mud-brick tower houses decorated with geometric patterns of white plaster and stained glass windows, or Qamarias, add to the beauty of the ancient city.