05 December, 2009

Dar Al Hajar: the Inside

Dar Al Hajar from the outside, is awesome and imposing; and so is the inside. The ingenuity of Yemeni architecture is as evident inside as it is outside. One is astonished with what one sees outside this unique building; inside, for a building that was built at the beginning of the last century, one is even more amazed at the care and ornateness that is there. It was built and decorated by master craftsmen. Here are some photos of inside the Rock House:
Dar  Al Hajar
The Dar has only one entrance at the north-side with a long, stone staircase that winds all the way to the roof. As one enters, one can't help wondering at those who shaped these doors, stairs and corridors.

Dar  Al Hajar
Every part is ornately built and decorated with much care and patience.
Dar  Al Hajar
The roof, the white-washed walls and the windows - Yemeni, simple but still bewitching as the rest of the building.
Dar  Al Hajar
It has thirty-five rooms, which includes: bedrooms, resting rooms, offices, and other rooms for storage.
Dar  Al Hajar
Above: the hooks are for hanging skin water containers. When hanged here, the holes in the windows, allow air to cool the skin and the water.
Dar  Al Hajar
Above: a simple but meticulously built Yemeni kitchen/oven.
Dar  Al Hajar
Above: a typical Yemeni window with a colorful qamariyya. Some of the rooms in the large building were only for women and some were only for men.
Dar  Al Hajar
Above: the ingenuity of Yemenis. During summers, when it is hot, this window and other windows like it, are left open; and like air conditioners - they cool air as it enters the rooms through the openings at the bottom of the windows.
Dar  Al Hajar
I was told by the guide there, that under the above, barred hole, is a water well.
Dar  Al Hajar
Above: one of the many bathtubs in the building.
Dar  Al Hajar
I was told by the guide, that here, on the roof, trained homing, carrier pigeons attached with messages, would be released to fly out. That form of sending messages: using pigeons with innate homing ability to carry messages to long distances and return home, is no longer practiced in Yemen. Unfortunately.
Dar  Al Hajar
Above and below: at the ground floor, is a shop selling Yemeni handicrafts.
Dar  Al Hajar
All the items sold here are hand made, locally.
Dar  Al Hajar
Within the same shop, is a display of some old Dar Al Hajar items, like: chairs, vases and women's ornaments.
Dar  Al Hajar
If one visits the Rock House on weekends, that is - Thursdays and Fridays, one will find many Yemenis from Sana'a and other places, there; and one is most likely to see traditional Yemeni wedding celebrations taking place in-front of the building or near it. Due to its unique architecture and construction, and beautiful surroundings - Dar Al Hajar is one of the main tourist attractions and destinations in Sana'a . What is even more pleasing, is that - people in the Dar Valley are some of the friendliest you will ever meet.