A governorate of rich history and beautiful nature:Dhamar governorate unveiled [Archives:2003/642/Last Page]

June 19 2003
Wide valleys in al-Hada area - Dhamar
Wide valleys in al-Hada area – Dhamar
Ismail Al-Ghabiri
Of the history of Dhamar governorate relatively little is known. However, we know that the pre-Islamic kingdoms of Saba', Qataban and Himyar extended their influence over the area that is Dhamar governorate nowadays. The Himyar capital of Zafar, first described in the year 35A.D, is situated near the governorate's border at Yarim.
Terracing of the hills began presumably with the Himyarite Kingdom from the first century A.D. onwards and extended after the decline of the eastern desert Kingdoms, when the sea routes through the Red Sea gained importance and formed a serious competition for the caravan trade, along the famous Incense Route. The steady development of terraced agriculture over the centuries is in a very sharp contrast to the rapid agriculture development we find these days in the plains around Mabar and Dhamar.

Yemen's climate is relatively favorable compared to other parts of the Arabian Peninsula. The effect of its mountains is that rainfall is more abundant than elsewhere. Temperatures are moderate also because of the altitude: the average temperature drops 1 degree Celsius for 150-170 meter rise in elevation. The Dhamar governorate lies in the central highlands; the important agricultural basins of Ma'bar and Dhamar are at an altitude of almost 2500m. Irrigation has been flourishing profession in this region since ancient times and wide areas are under dense cultivation. The countryside is relatively flat, so the large terraces are well suited to modern machinery, making the region ideal for grain production. To the west the governorate descends all the way to the Tihama, east of Bayt al-Faqih and Zabid. It seems to serve mainly as a thoroughfare for both Yemeni business people and foreign tourists, whose activities tend to be in the neighboring regions.

Dhamar City:
The city of Dhamar, in the center of the Dhamar basin, is of ancient origin. It was built by the legendary Himyarite King Dhamar Ali, renowned for restoring the great dam of Ma'rib. Dhamar is the only town in northern Yemen, which is not surrounded by a wall or natural defensive formations; it is just a settlement on the plains. Centrally situated with good connections to the nearby governorates, the town has prospered as a Wednesday market and meeting place for tribes living nearby.

The Sana'a-Taiz road passes through modern Dhamar, which has expanded along the roadsides; the old town is to the east, on the northern side of the road to Al-Bayda.

Hammam Ali
This famous bath resort 35km northwest of Dhamar owes its existence to the countless hot sulfurous springs on the southern slopes of Jabal Dhawran. The numerous bathhouses in Hammam Ali (Hammam Ali) are eagerly visited by Yemenis from near and far. They believe that the hot water is good for their health it probably is. The high season is January to February the coldest part of winter when a hot bath is a most welcome contrast to the raw mountain climate.