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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Summer Palace Wadi Dhahr Yemen

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Dar al-Hajar (The Rock Palace), the former five-storey summer residence of Imam Yahya (1904-48), built in the 1930s, dominates the village of Suq al-Wadi. The hero of the struggle against the Ottoman Turks, Yahya consolidated the hold of Zaydi Islam over Yemen, ruling the country with a firmness befitting a medieval autocrat.

The house itself is impressive and made more so by being built on top of a protruding steep rock formation. Building a palace in such an extraordinary place was not Yahya's idea; there were already ruins of a pre-historic building on top of the hill. The well penetrating the rocks by the house is from the original construction.

Today, the palace is an open museum of sorts, and a very popular place to visit, not only for tourists but also for local Yemeni families. Different rooms have descriptive labels in English and Arabic. Nearby is the village of Qaryat al- Qabil, with its walled pathways, orchards and vineyards. Here on Fridays from 09.00 – 12.00 Yemenis gather for wedding celebrations.

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Summer Palace, Wadi Dhahr, Yemen

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