Ma'rib Things to Do

  • Abandoned Marib Old Town
    Abandoned Marib Old Town
    by janiebaxter
  • Marib New Dam
    Marib New Dam
    by janiebaxter
  • Moon Temple or Throne of Bilqis
    Moon Temple or Throne of Bilqis
    by janiebaxter

Most Recent Things to Do in Ma'rib

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    The Southern Arabian Inscriptions

    by janiebaxter Written Mar 9, 2008

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    Southern Arabian inscriptions at Marib

    The Southern Arabian language dates from Sabaean times (Queen of Sheba) and had 29 letters, all in upper case.
    Inscriptions were mostly carved into stone and used to describe administrative and commercial achievements, battle victories and building work. The oldest found so far is from the 9th century BC, the most recent from the 2nd century BC.
    At the Temple of Bilqis (Sheba) you can see examples of the Southern Arabian language carved into large pieces of stone, lying around on the ground outside the fence.

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    The Old Town of Marib

    by janiebaxter Written Mar 9, 2008

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    Abandoned Marib Old Town

    Set on a hill outside the present town, the old town of Marib is a crumbling wreck, but is worth a look.
    It is said to date from the first millennium BC.
    The old town of Marib was mostly destroyed in the civil war in the 1960’s.

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    Temple of Bilqis (Sheba)

    by janiebaxter Written Mar 9, 2008

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    Bilqis Temple of the Sun

    Believed to have been built in 8000BC, this is supposed to be a more important temple than the Throne of Bilqis/Moon temple and was dedicated to the Sun god.
    It is desperately in need of excavation and restoration and it is surrounded by a wire fence which you cannot go through.
    At present it contains a high wall, a row of 12 metre high columns and some stone plinths and pieces containing Southern Arabian inscriptions.
    There are also a lot of loose stones and crumbling bits of the site lying around outside the fence.

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    The Throne of Bilqis

    by janiebaxter Written Mar 9, 2008

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    Moon Temple or Throne of Bilqis

    The Throne of Bilquis (Sheba) is also known as the temple of the Moon as it was dedicated to the Moon God Almaqah.
    Thought to have been built around 2000 BC, this temple has five and a half pillars set high up on steps. There is a sacred wall with a row of seats along the edge as well as a plinth where a holy oxen statue used to be.
    The sign outside states it is called “Baran Temple”.
    You can go in and walk around this one quite freely and I was the only tourist there at the time of my visit - along with my police guides.

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    Marib Old Dam

    by janiebaxter Written Mar 9, 2008

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    Marib Old Dam

    Marib Dam was built around the 8th century BC across Wadi Adhana to hold and divert the flood water which fell during the rainy season for use in agriculture.
    The old dam allowed the area to prosper from cultivation, as it was built at the bottom of the surrounding valleys to gain the most water collection.
    It was made from massive stone blocks held together with lead and iron and held 150000 cubic metres of water, was about 700 metres long and 35 metres high.
    Marib Dam broke and was repaired a few times but was finally abandoned around AD570.

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    Temple of Bilquis

    by hydronetta Updated Feb 27, 2006

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    1 more image

    This temple, lying on a side road, was dedicated to the sun god (dating from 800 BC). Unfortunately the area is fenced, police escort is prerequisite, so you can only take some photos of the row of 8 high columns. There is an elderly guard (???) keeping the keys of the area and he can point you to see were some ruins with inscriptions on them (see additional photo).
    Certainly more excavation is needed.

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    "Camel" mills

    by Nansen Written Apr 16, 2005
    Camel mill

    In Marib surroundings tradition is mantained.
    In some places, you can visit these mills moved by camels, as it was done years ago. As the camel move , the stones mill grain in order to obtain flour or oil.

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    The route across the desert

    by Nansen Written Apr 16, 2005
    Cars getting ready before crossing the desert

    Marib is the starting point on the route across the desert to Seyyun and Hadramawt.
    It´s the last "civilized" area untill you reach Seyyun and Hadramawt´s vities. In your way, you may only find beduin camps sparsed in some dry "wadis".
    Before starting the route, you should hire a beduin guide, in order beduin people allow you to cross the desert.

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    Old Marib city

    by Nansen Written Apr 16, 2005
    Old Marib

    The old Marib city was builded over the ruins of a Sabean fortress. It had a wall around the city with only three gates. The city was nearly razed during Civil war in the sixties, as it was allied to the old king of Yemen and suffered bombing.
    Now, you can visit the ruins of Soleiman mosque and the old house of the Iman, near the entrance of the city.
    Inside the city, you will find all the mud houses collapsed. Nearly all the city has been abandoned, and now only live few families who offer they old houses as viewpoints.

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    Modern dam

    by Nansen Written Apr 16, 2005
    Water rervoir from the new dam

    In 1980 was builded up a new dam thanks to a rich yemenian cheik. This cheik gave to the goverment 75 million dollar in order to build a new dam and water again the fertile valley.
    The new dam is 760 m long and 40m high, and it is like the old dam should be.

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    Old dam walls

    by Nansen Written Apr 16, 2005
    Section of the old dam walls

    As lots of mud were placed by the river in the reservoir, Marib people had to rebuild the dam in order to rise the walls of the dam. So, although firstly the walls were 7m high, in 250 B.C. they were over 14m high, and finally, in the last times of Saba kingdom in VI century A.D. they were 16m high.
    This impressive construction was known and visited by all the merchants and travellers of those times, so it was quickly known by all the ancient workld.
    Over 100B.C. the sediments of mud were a probleme and a menace to the dam, so important works in order to mantain it took place.
    As the Incense route lost its importance, Marib didn´t have the money and the people to matain the dam, so dam started to collapse. In 542 A.D., after being collapsed, the dam was lastly rebuilded by the ethiopian kings of Axum. Finally in 570 was definitely collapsed.

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    The old dam

    by Nansen Written Apr 16, 2005
    The valley and the gorge of the old dam

    The old Marib dam is the biggest and most important construction that have survived from the ruin.
    It was builded in a gorge, between the mountains Jebel al Qibli and Jabel al Awsat, and was 680m. long. You can see the gorge in the next picture, at the end of the green valley.
    This hughe construction was builded over 750 B.C. , in order to stop flooding and have an important water reservoir to water all the surrounding fields.
    The dam was essential to mantain Marib city. It is believed, dam was able to water more than 95km2 of fields, separated in two "oasis" which were called the "Two Paradises" in the sacred Coran. Crops were enough to feed the amount of 45 000 inhabitants who lived in Marib at that time.

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    The Queen of Saba

    by Nansen Written Apr 16, 2005
    Column with some sabean signs

    It is commonly believed that queen of Saba who appears in the Bible and the Coran, as Salomon lover, was the famous queen Bilqis of Marib, who ruled the kingdom in 950 B.C.
    This queen was a wise and fair woman, and under her government Marib grew got wealthier and more powerful.
    Salomon, the Jewish King, was so affected of the stories he listened about the queen, that finally he decided to write her and invited her to Jerusalem.
    They finally met in Salomon´s Palace, and it is said the queen gave impressive and rich presents to the king, so the Marib kingdom was powerful and wealthy then. From this relationship was born the future legendary king of Ethiopia Menelik. It is also said that some years later Menelik visited his father Salomon in Jerusalem, and he received as a present of his father the sacred Alliance trunk, where the Laws of Moises were kept.
    Since then, is commonly believed that it is kept in one church of Ethiopia.

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    Mahram Bilqis (Temple of Bilqis)

    by Nansen Written Apr 15, 2005
    Detail of one of the walls

    You can visit different archeological sites of the ancient Marib at this moment. One of them, is the Mahram Bilqis.
    First excavations were in 1952, stopped during years because of the beduin people, who bcame more dangerous.
    Years later, excavations went on, but at this moment, and important area of the site is still under the sand.
    The most important monument of the site is the temple, which sizes more than 90 m long and 80 m wide.
    It is supposed it was builded between 1000 B.C. and 700 B.C.

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    Marib and the Saba Kingdom

    by Nansen Written Apr 15, 2005
    Marib archeological site

    Marib was the main city of the legendary kingdom of Saba, from 1000 B.C. to 500 A.D.
    Marib was founded near a gorge of Wadi Adhana, where water was easy to get. The city was also in a cross of the caravan routes from the Aden and Qana harbours.
    The kingdom and the city were wealthy thanks to the taxes payed by merchants who travel across the kingdom. As time passed, the city became famous and lots of stories were written about the legendary wealth of the kingdom.
    Saba Kingdom was invaded by Himyar kingdom (another rich kingdom in the region of Ibb) in the III A.D. century, and after by the Axum kingdom ( from Ethiopia) in 525 A.C. Finally in 570 A.C., the city was definitely abandoned.

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