Studies and execution of conservation work for the structural stabilization of Tantora wall in AlUla Old Town

Project information
Project partners
  • Client: RCU (Royal Commission for AlUla)
  • Consultant and main contractor: HCC Heritage Conservation Consulting Inc.

Project description

The Tantora wall is a sundial located at the eastern edge of AlUla old town, used by the local population as a marker for the changing of the seasons and irrigation purposes. It was designed to create a shadow on the ground that indicates the various seasons during the year, depending on the sun’s path.

On September 23 2018, Dr. Mahmoud Bendakir was invited by RCU to conduct a detailed diagnosis of the Tantora Wall, to evaluate the two proposals prepared by CRATerre and Freyssinet, and to prepare a list of technical recommendations for the restoration and structural stabilization of this important monument.

A detailed inspection was carried out, including the historic buildings adjacent to this wall, to identify the exact source of threats and to map all the decay processes. Special focus was given to the building system, the quality of original materials, and the combination of erosion processes.

A full photographic survey was performed and a number of observations were made so as to allow the evaluation of visible structural deformation and to assess the degree of instability. This led to the mapping of all decay processes and the preparation of adapted solutions to mitigate the threats.

Following the results of the condition assessment, a short restoration (30 days) was organized and launched by the HCC team between October 24 and November 30, 2018. This operation was a great success: not only was the challenge of completing all the work in a truly short time achieved, but also around fifteen unskilled workers were trained.