07 December, 2010

Hadhramaut: Land of Minarets, Mosques, Tombs, Land, Camels, Goats and Date Palms

Like in any other place around the world, life in Hadhramout revolves around a few things; a few things, some of which - that, to a visitor may seem unimportant; but in Hadhramaut - these, are the main movers and shakers of social activities. These are what most people, outside their family affairs, relate to and are most concerned with - most of the time. These are what are central to being and life here. Especially, in Wady Hadhramout: Minarets, Mosques, Tombs, Land, Camels, Goats and Date Palms.

Wherever you go in the Hadhramaut Valley, you will see minarets. In small villages and in all urban centers, you will find minarets; many of them. Most are painted white. All, at night - illuminate green. Some of the tallest earth structures in the world, are of minarets in Tarim

In Tarim, there are hundreds of mosques; many of which have wonderful architecture. In Hadhramaut, every day, almost all men and some women, gather to pray in mosques, five times a day. Mosques are the main and central point of society.
Around the Wady, too, are many tombs; domed tombs. Tombs of old spiritually revered Hadhramis; many, in Wady Hadhramout visit these tombs. The above tombs in Seiyoun, are visited yearly by thousands of people. Each year, several days of festivals are held in relation to those entombed in these structures.
The most well known of the Wady tombs are: that of Prophet Hood located on a small hill, about 90 km. east of Tarim; the tombs of Aynaat; the tomb of Ahmad Bin Eisa located between Seiyoun and Tarim; and the Al Habshi tombs in Seiyoun.
There are a few tombs too, in Wady Do'an; most known is the Mash'had Ali tomb of an old saint, above. It is at the entrance of Wady Do'an - when coming from Wady Hadhramout.
Shibam, above - from a distance, looks like one structure; looks like one big castle. It is in reality, hundreds of houses, several floors high with an old mosque at its center. Shibam is located at the center of the valley, with very fertile land all around it; and table like mountains on both sides.
Wherever there are people in Hadhramout, there are camels; more so, in the Wady. They are very highly valued and regarded. It is unimaginable to think of life in Hadhramaut, without camels.
And sheep and goats. These are normally taken care of and shepherd by women. Women, who, along the Wady, can be seen with their straw hats, watching over the goats.
 They move in fields; fields with date palms and cereal grasses. Grown on irrigated land. The Wady Hadhramout has one of the most fertile land on Earth.

Land, camels, goats and date palms; these are most priced here. These are what symbolize life in Hadhramout; these, and minarets and mosques. And the many houses and dwellings; many of which are built of mud-bricks, made of clay and straw; and many of which are wonderfully and dramatically perched on the sides of mountains - like the above in Seif, Wady Do'an.