The capital city of Yemen, Sana'a is one of the oldest populated cities in the world. Historically, its strategic location has allowed it to control the movement of trading networks, governing access from the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean to the Red Sea ports. Sana'a has been a site rich in Islamic architectural history since the seventh century, when Islam was largely adopted in Yemen. Sana'a's architectural heritage is a culmination of influences and styles; containing elements of Umayyad, Rasulid, and Ottoman architecture. Particular to Sana'a is a vibrant tradition of vernacular architecture, known for its use of carved timber, stone, and stepped masonry in multi-level houses. The western city has historically been the site of palatial architecture, including the notable Ayyubid "Sultan's Garden." Other notable complexes include a number of caravanserais and public hammams. In 1974, legislation required that all new buildings be executed in accordance with the traditional Yemeni styles. In 1986, the old city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much of the Old City has since been destroyed, as a result of bombings throughout 2015.
Beit al-Mansour was built early this century over an existing ground floor. The three-storey house is more than 100 years old. Beit al-Mansour is a typical Sanani house in the heart of the Bir al-Azab quarter. Stone was used in one part of the ground floor while clay was used on the back side of the same floor. Bricks were used on the front side of the first floor, consisting of big diwan. Bricks were also used for the centre of the second floor. The house is particularly interesting because of the different materials used in the various stages of construction, and because of the different entrances to the house and the garden. The house has three levels on each floor, which also makes it unique. The owner entirely restored the building, first from the inside, respecting traditional Yemeni architecture and without making any changes in its design, except making different openings between the rooms. The main restoration work was the gypsum on the wall decoration and the windows, the woodwork on doors, windows and shutters, and stone pavement of the stairs. The owner also restored the exterior of the building re-doing the clay work of the two back floors and restoring the gypsum work decorations all over the building. This restoration project is part of the larger Old Sana'a conservation project.