15 March, 2010

The Palaces of Hadhramout

Hadhramaut, was once ruled by sultans. There were two most notable ruling families in Hadhramout: the Al'Kathiri family and the Al'Quaitys. The Al'Kathiris ruled from Seiyoun for about five hundred years - from 1400 to 1967; and the Al'Quaitys ruled from Al Mukalla - from 1882 to 1967. Like all sultans, the two dynasties built palaces.

The Mae'en Palace, above and below, in Al'Mukalla was built by Sultan Omar Bin Awadh Al'Quaity in the 1920s. Note its very much Indian influenced architecture. This is probably due to the Sultan having served in the military, with the British, in India and being influenced by that.
It has three floors and many rooms. A part of the above palace now serves as a museum and can be visited during work days, from 8.00 AM to 1.00 PM.
Above: is the almost crumbling old Al'Quaity Palace in Al'Qatn; I wonder why such old, priceless buildings - are not well maintained? The Al'Quaity's first took Shibam from their arch rivals the Al'Kathiris in 1858 and then went on to conquer Al'Shaeher in 1866 and finally Al'Mukalla in 1881. And hence controlling most of Hadhramout.
Before the Al'Quaitys took most of Hadhramout from them, the Al'Kathiris ruled most of it. Their main palace built in the 1920s, above and below, was in Seiyoun in Wady Hadhramout. Very much like a fortress, like most houses in Wady Hadhramout - it was built of bricks made of clay and straw.  It is the most prominent structure in Seiyoun; it has five floors and many rooms. It, too, has now been transformed into a museum and a public library.

While the Seiyoun Al'Kathiri Palace seems properly managed; and looks and stands strong and firm, the Al'Quaity Palace in Al'Mukalla, looks decrepit and worn out. It seems poorly managed. It  needs immediate proper repairs, renovation, care and good management - especially after the last heavy rains and floods; otherwise, it might collapse.