Yemen: The Shahārah Bridge
The village lies at 2600 metres and overlooks mountainous bulging swells to the south and shimmering hot plains to the north.
The village, which lies on top a sharp mountain of the same name, Jabal Shahārah, consists of several old stone houses and a cistern.
The limestone arch footbridge was constructed in the 17th century by the architect Salah Al–Yaman at the orders of Al-Asta Saleh Al-Suaidi, a local lord, to connect Jabal Al-Emir (Jebel Al-Amir) and the Jabal Fais (Jebel Feesh) across a deep gorge.
It spans 200 meters above the valley floor, with a total length of 20 meters, and it was built by traditional means.
The base of the arch reveals the existence of earlier attempts to bridge the narrow and precipitous gap.
The Shahārah Bridge is depicted on Yemen‘s 10YR (10-rial) coin.
The Shahārah Bridge was built to fight the Turkish invaders. The legend goes that the local people can dismantle the bridge in few minutes in case of imminent danger!
The footbridge in Shaharah. Photo Bernard Gagnon, August 1986.