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Wed - 04 Dec 2019 - 06:22 AM ،،،

AP


 The cisterns of Aden may be a testament to Yemen's past days of glory and architectural innovation but neglect has turned them into dilapidated structures in urgent need of preservation. To the dismay of visitors who come to see the historic reservoirs, much of the water collected in them today is murky and strewn with garbage.

 "We found many cisterns full of waste, plastic cans, garbage, and the walls covered with names of people. We did not expect this because the water reservoirs were in better condition," says visitor Mohsen Amer.
 
"This is our Yemeni heritage, it should be impossible to find it looking like this," he added. While water reservoirs are generally overlooked today, the mysterious cisterns of Aden have garnered plenty of attention and interest. They have come ahead of their time, says, the Director of the Aden Heritage Centre, Wadea Aman, adding that the cisterns represent a "unique engineering miracle." There are two types of reservoirs, according to Aman. One type filters the water, then passes the clean water to the other tanks where it is stored. The ancient cisterns symbolise at least 3,000 years of civilisation, Aman adds.

Historians and archaeologists have not agreed on the cisterns' construction date but some have linked the reservoirs to the biblical Queen of Sheba. The legendary queen is said to have ordered them built when she saw that rainwater was being wasted in Aden, says Khalid al-Rabati, the general manager of the cisterns.

Researchers believe there were about 55 cisterns originally but only 18 exist today, with some were either destroyed or buried underground. In recent years, the deteriorating state of the cisterns was spurred on by the Yemeni war, al-Rabati says.