22 July, 2009

Out of Wady Do'an

Out of Wady Do'an and up on to the highlands. The air is still dry, but it becomes cooler as one goes higher. Not far out of the Wady, right by the main road to Al Mukalla, there is this sign post - below. I didn't know that any resort or good hotel existed high up there. But, there was.

A short distance from the sign post, there were these two imposing towers. The towers reminded me of stories in the One Thousand and One Nights. I wondered: what could be behind them, right ahead? Another short distance from these towers, there was another set of similar looking towers, with a gate between them.

From the gates at the second towers, the main entrance of the resort can be seen a few meters away. The main entrance is as impressive as the towers. I was rather taken aback by this. I couldn't believe there was such a fine, outstanding place such as this right there in this remote, secluded part of the Hadhramaut highlands.

The main colors of the resort are sand brown, like this blog - and like the valleys, cliffs, canyons and deserts of Hadhramout; and white. This harmonizes beautifully with the surroundings.

The doors and windows are all made of brown colored solid wood and decorated with golden colored steel studs. These kind of doors and windows are what the artisans in Tarim are excellent at.

The resort combines Sana'ani, Yemeni architecture and has some resemblance to the Old Town of Sana'a; and the Hadhramy mud, brick houses. The result: magnificent and stunning.

Green. Around the resort are many potted plants, grass and trees. Incredible. It's hard to imagine that trees and plants could grow on such a rocky and barren place as the highlands. The grass, plants and trees - add to the sumptuousness of the retreat.

The real wonder and surprise of the Hayd Al Jazeel Resort, is at the back. Not the many beautiful trees and flowers. Not the complete quietness and serenity that is there. But: the valley!

It's spectacular and stunning. They couldn't have chosen a better place for the resort. Standing by the wall, at the back - the view is just breathtaking and awesome. The valley, by itself, is fantastic. But the greater wonder, is the fortress.

Beyond. On the other side of the valley is the amazing structure. Right there, high, clinging, on the side of the cliff. Old and accessible by only one narrow path. The clusters of mud, bricked houses stand on the edges of the settlement. With the center empty.

How old the fortress is exactly, no one could tell me. But, it is ancient and seems medieval. As with all fortresses, it was meant to protect and defend its inhabitants from attackers from other enemy tribes and from without. It must have done that very well. I can not help, but be completely awed by the extraordinariness of the structure; at the same time, my mind couldn't help at wondering at the horrors of what defending and protecting such a place meant - very long ago, especially from marauding plunderers. The valley is still green with trees due to the last rains here. When it rains, it will again turn in to a river. Temporarily.

What a site! What a place! Cloistered. Imposing. Extraordinary. Mystical. And tranquil. With very clean dry air. Cool in summers. During winters, it would be very cold here. I will certainly visit Hayd Al Jazeel Resort again. The place is still under construction. The swimming pool has not yet been completed; and I was told by the resort's manager that a children's play area and more, will be added, with time. For more information on the resort, visit their site here.