Yemen Journals

What a Wadi!

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An August 2006 trip to Yemen by HELEN001

Travel Photo by IgoUgo memberMore Photos
Quote: Wadi Hadramawt, 700km east of Sana'a is a world of its own. Walled desert cities, verdant oases, mud tower houses and palaces that need to be seen to be believed.

What a Wadi!

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Overview

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
On the topographical front, Wadi Hadramawt is one helluva highlight in its own right. It's supposed to be the largest wadi on the Arabian Peninsula although it will come as no surprise when I say that for every one person who quoted this ‘fact’ there was another person to contradict it. Nevertheless it’s a monster of a wadi running roughly east to west with a length of 165km and anything from 12km to 700m wide. There are squillions of tributary wadis running into it and the sandstone cliffs on either side are over 300m high. It’s also very fertile and there are hundreds of plantations dotted all over the wadi floor. And as for the wonderful town of Shibam with its multi-storey tower houses, it is lite...Read More

Al Ahqaf Tourist Hotel

Hotel | "Al-Ahgaf Tourist Hotel"

Quote:
Nothing wrong with this hotel whatsoever. It was new, shiny, spotless and the furniture matched. The a/c was silent; the fan had a selection of speeds instead of the usual two – almost off and take-off. Not an acrylic blanket in sight and the bathroom grouting was excellent. The reception desk was long enough to sleep six folks rather than a plank in a corner and there was even a uniformed doorman as opposed to some bloke lying on the steps chewing qat. If hungry you could eat – whenever and wherever you wanted. There was a restaurant, room service, and a wee shop selling chocolate and other goodies. If bored you could pop along to reception to see what time it was in London or New York and maybe c...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 27, 2006

Al Ahqaf Tourist Hotel
About 1.5km Into Town On Airport Street
Sieyun, Yemen
967 5 408 666 /7/8

Shibam - A Step Back in Time

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Story/Tip

First View of Shibam Photo, Yemen, Middle East
Quote:
Believe me I tried to think of another way of describing Shibam but I really can't do any better than whoever it was who dubbed it the 'Manhattan of the desert'*. Rising out of the undulating sands of the wadi floor, Shibam with its 500 or so, six to eight storey ancient tower houses is every bit as awe-inspiring as the Manhattan skyline. But I also think that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. Shibam is old and, surprise surprise, like many other old sites in Yemen, nobody can agree about just how old. The problem is that the thinner brick walls of the upper storeys have been repeatedly rebuilt and repaired and so are much more recent than the lower storeys and foundations. This makes it dif...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 27, 2006

Sayun/Seiyun

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Attraction | "Sayun - Somewhere to Sit!"

Sayun/Seiyun Photo, Yemen, Middle East
Quote:
The problem with Sayun is that it’s only 20km further up the road into the wadi from Shibam. Believe me, it takes a lot longer than the 20 minute drive to stop being well impressed by Shibam, so poor old Sayun doesn’t stand a snowball in hells chance of being anything other than a bit of an anti-climax. But Sayun has its moments and it is an excellent town to use as a base for exploring the towns and villages in Wadi Hadhramawt. Known as the ’town of a million palm trees’, it was the capital of the powerful Kathiris of Hamdanis tribe from AD1490 up until the 1967 revolution. It was also the capital of the northern Hadhramawt Protectorate under British rule and is now the administrative capital of t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2006

Sayun/Seiyun
Hadhramaut region
Seiyun, Yemen

Palace of Sultan Al-Kathiri (Sultan's Palace Museum) Photo, Yemen, Middle East
Quote:
I’m pretty sure that if there’d been such a thing as a Sayun Town Council Planning Consent Committee back in the 1920s and I’d been on that committee, there’s no way Sultan Al-Katheri would’ve got planning permission for his palace. Something would’ve had to change. Either the location the size or the colour. It’s a monster of a building with over 90 rooms, right slap bang in the centre of town and built in the style of an early C19th defensive fort. Except that early C19th Yemeni defensive forts were not painted dazzling white for obvious reasons. I realise it might’ve been a tad inconvenient for Mrs Al-Katheri if she wanted to nip out for a spot of retail therapy, but I’d have told the Sultan tha...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2006

Palace of Sultan Al-Kathiri (Sultan's Palace Museum)
Seiyun
Seiyun, Yemen

The Terror of Tarim!

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Story/Tip

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Bit of a strange place Tarim. Like Sayun, 40km back down the wadi, there’s also a fair bit of money knocking round in Tarim. Not quite as many contemporary, no-more-than-two-storey, ’luxury’ style houses or gleaming 4WDs as Sayun but enough to suggest a higher than national average disposable income. OK, so it’s only a small proportion of the population in this income bracket and the vast majority are as poor as mosque mice but if there were beggars in Wadi Hadramawt, I didn’t see any. That’s more than can be said for the rest of Yemen. Inequitable maybe but at least there seemed to be some sort of trickle-down effect from the local pockets of wealth in the area. The attraction of Tarim, h...Read More