15 July, 2009

Sights from Wady Do'an

Few places on earth are as spectacular in appearance and exotic as Wady Hadhramout. The most dramatic and most thrilling of all the Hadhramaut Valley, is undoubtedly Wady Do'an. It has so many breathtaking sites; lush in some places and so lavish in others. It's best to move through Wady Do'an slowly and stop and take time; and enjoy the many exotic villages, the many lush fields and date palms and the many wonderful mountains. A few days ago, I had the joy of traveling through the Wady with my daughter and son. Below, are a few photos that I took:

Above: Al Hajerayn. The most spectacular in Wadi Do'an and one of the oldest villages in Hadhramaut. It's built on the side of a small mountain and seems to cling on its side. The mountain itself, juts dramatically upwards at the center of the cluster of the elaborately built mud houses.

There are many small villages in the Valley. From a distance, they look so alien and mysterious.

All the villages are built on the side of the cliffs or right below them. This is so, so as to provide security for the villagers in the olden days when there were many quarrels and fights between tribes. For the same reason, the houses were built close to each other so that it would be easy to defend them against enemies.

All villages too, are close to cultivated fields and the date palms. The other main villages along Wadi Do'an are: Al Mash'had and Seef.

All the houses are made of mud bricks and they blend so beautifully with the cliffs and the date palms. Most of the houses go up to three or more storeys.

A few years ago, there were no proper, good roads here. But now, there is a very good tarmac road running through the Wadi. Good roads also mean more tourists and more traffic through the pristine Valley, which will certainly be, in some ways, destructive to the culture and environment here.

Driving upwards, out of the Wady, and on to the highlands, is breathtaking. The road upwards, is very steep but very well built. And the view below as one goes upwards, is exhilarating. The villages, the palms and the valley are stunningly wonderful.

One of the most dramatic and most awesome of the villages is the last one, before one moves up the road to Al Mukalla. Al Khurayba, above, is a cluster of castle like, very large houses built by one of the richest families in the world. And not far from here, is the ancestral roots of another wealthy family: the Bin Ladens.

Read more on Do'an and its honey here.