27 January, 2008

The Two Monuments

There are two imposing, historical Yemeni monuments that are so strikingly similar in appearance but are in completely different parts of Yemen. Both seem to grow out of the rocks on which they were constructed, and both are of ingeneous architecture; unique to Yemen. Both, were built by two different rulers of parts of Yemen at different times and for different reasons.


Al Ghuwaizy Fort, above - the main symbol of Al Mukalla - is in Hadhramout and was built in 1884 by Sultan Omar bin Awadh al Qu'aiti, as a guard post, at the Northern-Eastern entrance of Al Mukalla. Presently, Al Ghuwaizy is about 2 km from the center of Al Mukalla city, right by the high way to/from Al Riyan airport. The city has now spread wider and further, beyond the old guard post.


While, much larger, five storeys high, is Dar Al Hajar (The Rock Palace), above - in the fertile Wady Dhahr. It is on the edge of Sana’a, about 15 km North of the city proper - and is said to have been built in 1930, on the ruins of a prehistoric building, by Imam Yahya as a summer residence. It is built like a fortress with shooting emplacements to defend the place, should it be attacked. Dar al-Hajar is one of the most popular symbols of Yemen seen on posters and in magazines. There are some who say that, parts of Dar al Hajar were built much earlier and Imam Yahya built on only a section of it, after.