Whadi Dhahr

Rock Palace at Whadi Dhahr
Photo by: Ai@ce, Creative Commons

Whether you are a tourist or a draftee in the Yemeni army, Whadi Dhahr is a perfect spot for a leisurely walk or some sightseeing. The Whadi is located roughly fourteen kilometers northwest of Sana’a, ten kilometers out of town, you will find a rocky highland region on the road’s right-hand side. From here, you can get an excellent view of the entire Whadi, with the renowned Rock Palace situated at the valley’s heart. Friday mornings, at around 10:00 o’clock till noon, this plateau area is usually used as a pre-wedding dance practice area for grooms and their entourages who are enthusiastic about being photographed in the area.

Perhaps the most photographed structure in all of Yemen is Dar-al-Hajar, more commonly known as the Rock Palace. Located over a rocky protrusion, it was constructed as a summer residence by Imam Yahya in 1933. Standing five stories high, the Rock Palace is open to visitors from 8 o’clock in the morning until six o’clock in the evening for a fee. Although not many of the rooms are furnished, the interior of the Palace has windows of fine stained glass and the views from the rooftop are outstanding making the climb worth it.

Subterranean wells can be found underneath the Palace, one supposedly more than 250 meters deep. Findings also suggest that the Palace had been occasionally inhabited since the prehistoric era.

The Palace also marks the point of entry into al-Qabil, a small village with verdant gardens and some unusual buildings. You will also find an ancient and rather large hamman (bath) inside the village that will give you a very steamy tour when not in use.

Although there are no restaurants or eating places in Whadi Dhahr, visitors can still stop to rest and eat as there are a lot of locations perfect for picnics.

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