Yemen, Wādī Ẓahr: Dar al-Hajar, the Rock Palace
The Rock Palace in Wadi Dhahr.
Dar al-Hajar or the Rock Palace is a mansion built in the 1930‘s as a summer retreat to Imam Yahya near Sana’a, Yemen.
The palace was restored for visitors, but it was not turned into a museum.
You do not need a permit in order to travel to Wadi Dhahr from Sana’a.
Photo Antti Salonen February 2009.
The Dar al hajar is standing all alone and can be seen from all sides.
It spirals majestically five stories high.
Outside the Dar, are other buildings and a courtyard.
The Dar is now mainly surrounded by qat plants. Long ago, it was mostly surrounded by a variety of fruits.
The Dar has only one entrance at the north-side with a long, stone staircase that winds all the way to the roof.
It has thirty-five rooms, which includes: bedrooms, resting rooms, offices, and other rooms for storage.
If you buy a ticket, you can see the insides too.
Photo Jörn Heise
If one visits the Rock House on weekends, that is – Thursdays and Fridays, one will find many Yemenis from Sana’a and other places, there; and one is most likely to see traditional Yemeni wedding celebrations taking place in-front of the building or near it.
At the entrance, right at the bottom, there is a museum and a shop for selling Yemeni artifacts.
Sana’a (Arabic: صنعاء Ṣanʿāʾ pronounced [sˤɑnʕaːʔ], Yemeni Arabic: [ˈsˤɑnʕɑ]), also spelled “Sana”, is the capital of Yemen and the centre of San‘a’ Governorate; however the city itself is not part of the Governorate, but forms the separate administrative district of “Amanat Al-Asemah“.
Sana’a is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. At an altitude of 2,300 metres (7,500 ft), it is also one of the highest capital cities in the world. Sana’a has a population of approximately 1,748,000 (2010) making it Yemen’s largest city. The old city of Sana’a, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a distinctive visual character due its unique architectural characteristics, most notably expressed in its multi-story buildings decorated with geometric patterns.
The ancient Old City of Sana’a has been inhabited for over two and a half millennia and was inscribed in 1986 as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Sana’a became a major Islamic centre in the 7th century, and the 103 mosques, 14 hammams (traditional bath houses), and more than 6,000 houses that survive all date from before the 11th century.