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Yemen: Wadi Dhahr

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Wadi Dhahr | Yemen | Asia

[Visited: June 2004]

While the main attraction in Wadi Dhahr is obviously the famous Rock Palace, the wadi itself also deserves some exploration. Just 15 km from San'a, it makes for an easy day trip. The service taxi that took me down to Suq al Wadi, the first village in the wadi, was falling apart and I was glad to get out of it. After my visit to the Rock Palace, I walked on towards Qaryat al-Qabil through dust that was blowing everywhere. The road is not yet asphalted and wind was blowing through the wadi.

Picture of Wadi Dhahr (Yemen): Typical house in Wadi Dhahr

I crossed some fields to end up at a makeshift soccer field where two boys were playing with a ball and was directly invited to join. After half an hour of play with a very soft ball I decided I had had enough exercise in the middle of the day and went on to explore the village. It is almost as if the houses are growing out of the bedrock. They blend perfectly well into the landscape and look like an integral part of it. In this village, I saw towers with a mafraj or top floor for social gatherings, flowers, and the typical Yemeni houses with white decorations.

Picture of Wadi Dhahr (Yemen): Watch tower with mafraj in Wadi Dhahr

I took a smaller path on my way back to the exit of the wadi, along the wadi wall. Here, I saw various houses and children playing, people busy with the produce of their lands, students coming back from school. It also gave a good view on the Rock Palace - it was clear how it was built precisely over an existing rock. I decided to walk back to the suburbs of San'a, which gave me the opportunity to see the wadi from above, to reach one of its watch towers, and to go through silent areas before reaching the bustle of the capital.

Picture of Wadi Dhahr (Yemen): Detail of typical house in Wadi Dhahr
Picture of Wadi Dhahr (Yemen): Clay house in Wadi Dhahr
Picture of Wadi Dhahr (Yemen): Wadi Dhahr house blending in with the landscape
Picture of Wadi Dhahr (Yemen): House with flowers in Qaryat al-Qabil in Wadi Dhahr
Picture of Wadi Dhahr (Yemen): Overview of Wadi Dhahr, with houses, watch towers and agriculture
Picture of Wadi Dhahr (Yemen): Typical window in house in Wadi Dhahr
Picture of Wadi Dhahr (Yemen): One of the watch towers guarding Wadi Dhahr

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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