About 15 kilometres, 30 minutes drive or about 1500 years outside of Sana'a. It is called 'Dar al-Hajar’. This is a fantastic ‘rock palace’ which is a luxurious 5 story palace sat upon a very prominent rock outcropping rising up from the valley floor. Originally there were caves (some are still accessible) and deep subterranean wells that go as deep as 275 meters below the ground. In the days before Islam the caves were used to live in and as burial chambers.
A local Imam (Imam Yahya) built this as a summer residence in 1786 and it has 17 well proportioned rooms. The admission fee is small and the signs are in English as well that explain the items and rooms inside. Only 3 rooms are fully furnished and you are not able to go all the way to the top. That is too bad because I could see people (pictured) up on the roof. You do however get fantastic views of the rest of the valley. The rooms help you to understand an Islamic household with men’s and women’s rooms. There is a fantastic ‘Mafarej’ which is a fancy sitting rooms found at the top of Yemeni houses. The brightly coloured panes of glass cast a multi-coloured show across the walls as the day passes.
This is a popular place to bring tours of school children to learn about their own history. There is a small cave off of a terrace and down some stairs. It is not marked, I just got nosy.
You can get a shared taxi out here and bring your own water. There are no hotels or restaurants here. There is a fantastic gift shop opposite the entrance with good prices you can haggle down a bit further.
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it was just sooo unique that I never heard in any other muslim country before! it is really nice, even tough it wakes you up early morning and annoys a bit but, you know, I loved it! :
Going around the old town sometime it happens to see some big opened doors hiding a dark space.
Get closer and give a look inside as they often are reall stalls with inside sheeps and a blind camel going around.
Once we saw that we got closer to try to understand what the camel was doing, he had a mask on his eyes and was carrying around a milling machine to prodece sesame oil, I guess that not all do sesame oils but also other different milling works.
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Away from Sana
As you head North out of town you will pass numerous villages along the way. If you have a decent zoom on your camera you should be able to get some great shots of the rock structures along the way.
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