Bab al Misrah
The gate, out of the seven of the town (village?), that I liked most is Bab al Misrah - a tiny gate at the end of some stone steps leading up towards the foot of the mountain behind. It's the narrawest of all, but one of the best kept ones.
Originally it was used to isolate the town from the outside world, and to defend it, now it is part of the city, and leads to other parts of the old town... It is not the backdoor anymore - it's the connecting door.
- Road Trip
the rock house
Thula does not only have mosques and tower houses... it also has a small house that is owrth seeing - I call it the rock house since I don't think it has a name. Like the more famous palace in Wadi Dahr, but less imposing, a house was build using a rock outcrop as its walls.
This house is so well integrated in the rock that it is not quite clean where the rock ends and where the house starts: at a first glance it would look like a rock with windows. It is possible that this house is today used as a cava mainly, like several other similar houses in the area.
ve ended and the building began
- Road Trip
Mohammed ibn al-hadi tomb
Mohammed ibn al-hadi tomb seems to be housed inside a mosque right opposite the Jaadan cistern. It is partly below ground and has a delightful white dome - and cannot be visited.
I wish I could gather more information, but nothing was found online - and my precious guidebook simply ignores its existence.
- Road Trip
If you enter the town of Thula, from the bab al hadi gate, the first sight that you will see, on your left, is a large water cistern. Like many other mountain towns where water is extremely scarce, this cistern is used to collect the rainwater for domestic use.
It is an open cistern, one of the two in town (but I did not find the second one) and it is built in stone, using a traditional plaster called “qadad.” The USAID has plans to "fix" it, so as to avoid possible contamination - as rainwater used to sometimes become contaminated as it flew through its collection channels.
This might be the reason while it was nearly empty when I visited (february 2007) while the neighbouring village of Hababa had one full of water.
One of the most beautiful buildings in Thila is a low-rise stone house that looks like anything except a mosque. But it is: this two floors high construction (one of the few that are not tower houses) is a mosque, the Saeed mosque - sometimes spelled Sa'id.
There is not mynareth there - and, if it had not been for the sign outside, I would nover have thought it was a place of prayer. I don't know if it is open or not, but it looked quite deserted
- Road Trip
Mosque al-imam said al-kenai
Thila, although nothing more than a splendid fortified village, counts more than 25 mosques, including this one - the mosque al-imam said al-kenai. I am not sure if this is the main mosque: it should have been easily recognisable by its minareths... and this mosque, in my opinion, had a most stuning one - but only one, indeed.
I have the feeling that the main mosque would have been hidden inside the maze of little alleys. This mosque, like all the other ones in Yemen, cannot be visited by non-muslims... but I happened to find a photo online of htis mosque, and it's wonderfully decorated.
Bab al-Mayah is one of Thila's seven gates and it is located to the north of the town - according to my map near Al-Mayah cistern - which, admittedly - I did not find.
It is a bizarre gate, as it looks very much like a castle or fortress, while the town's fortress looks a lot less like a fortress.
Bab Al-Hadi is one of the seven gates of the city, and the one where you should start your visit. It is not the one by the taxi station - but the one before that, where the road splits. The gate is imposing and bent... so first you'll be walking amid walls without seeing what else you will find... this way you enter the town right by the old cistern.
Do not think you are mistaken - the small road you are supposed to take (walk, actually) is not paved... just keep walking - pas some houses, some donkeys, until you reach the old walls and the gate.
The fortress that doesn't look like a fortress is a palace built right on the face of the rock, at the foot of the mountain overlooking the city. It really blends in with the mountain. In the past it was known as the fort of Mutahar Bin Sharaf Uddin.
To get there you should exit the city walls at Bab al-Husn and walk up the old steps carved in the rock. The fortress may not be much of a sight, but the views from there are compelling.
- Road Trip