A journey to mountains of Barat [Archives:2003/664/Last Page]

September 1 2003
Spacious fertile plains
Spacious fertile plains
Mud skyscrapers of Barat
Mud skyscrapers of Barat
Barati folk dances performed in groups
Barati folk dances performed in groups
Irena Knehtl
For the Yemen Times
[email protected]

I have been visiting Barat Mountains on the outskirts of AlRub AlKhali (Empty Quarter) during a span of five years. It is not such a long time if one thinks in terms of relationships to places and people. But we seem to get along. Barat in the past used to be brown and dusty, Barat without rain, but last time after substantial rains it glared in the sun and looked happy: t was that cloud brought this rain
The mountains of Barat occupy the northern plateau and eastern slopes. This is also the place of mans unavoidable meeting with the destiny of nature. Here houses, mosques, towers simply grow off the ground: rising up to the sky and stretching out on earth. A place made out of people and land, faces in the shape of their mountains. Thus its inhabitants have created one of the most unusual cultures on the Arabian Peninsula.

A symphony of colors
Houses are the most striking feature of this region. Houses the same colors of the sand and a contrasting explosions of colors from inside. Houses earth brown and brown walled, flat-roofed and swaddled in silence. Houses that are built using available materials are in all shapes, square, round towers, four to six stories high mud skyscrapers. Colors are the most picturesque device, red or blue with accompanying white straps around their windows and doors. Flat roofs are decorated with gray or white triangular motif. Most houses have small vegetable gardens at hand.
Here Barati dreams were captured and re-dreamed.
Markets in Suq AlEnan and Rajuza offer wheat and barley, dry fruits, animal fat, sweetest dates, grapes, raisins, almonds, tea, sugar, coffee, fresh vegetables, species. .
Here is also the scent of finest perfumes, mixed with rose water, ambergris, and saffron, and sweet basil. Flavors here are much too strong, scents too intense, and contrasts much too extreme.
Barat is also home to two oldest Arab tribes: Dhu Mohammed an Dhu Hussien. From these mountains came soldiers who during the making of the Islamic State were an important source of armed strength throughout the Islamic period and conquered vast territories for Islam. They settled in so far away places such as Syria, Morocco, Andalusia, Sicily, and even Malta.
It was spring when the desert dreamt of roses, when they left. Dusty and unkempt. For new religion and Book of Life They eyes turned back but the Barati mountains were no longer visible heir hearts turned back everywhere they were foreign, and everywhere they met relatives ar is not just talk it is what we saw and tasted
As they went, they returned. Since they are on an eternal voyage, a voyage that travels within them, like ocean drops, then fall down with rain .
They also played important role during the Yemeni 26th September 1962 revolution. events. The essence of Arabia's past is embodied in Yemeni ancient settlement. The predominantly mud brick settlements like Barat are living craft industries. Yet it is these houses and crafts produced under rigorous conditions by individuals or in small family workshops which are most representative of Yemen, its people and its past. They are an extraordinary heritage and culture:

A rich cultural heritage that needs to be cherished.
The tribesman of Dhu Mohammed are grain farmers who rely on rainfall for their cultivation of wheat and barley and produce largely for their own use. They are mainly villagers who grow sorghum, barley, and wheat by “dry” (rain-fed) cultivation. When rains became scarce than migrations to the southern, greener places such as Ibb became inevitable carrying with them the landscape into which they were born. Barart is above an old place where people have settled so long. When the land still lived but part of the rich sea that washed the villages, life was made equally of the seen and unseen, balanced in careful harmony. The mountains might be persuaded to put down their roots again and link the place with heaven once more.
Barati tribes are now caught up in an entrepreneurial cash economy. Among the different sorts of time that make up history the long term thus presents itself as a troublesome, complicated, often entirely new characters. It is in relation to such vast expanses of slow-moving history that the totality of history is to be rethought. Every one of the thousand levels, the thousand explosions of historical time can be grasped.

Bonding new Links
Along with the opportunities generated by modernization and globalization some challenges that must be faced such as the loss of traditional markets, increased competitions from imported modern goods, changing attitudes toward traditional lifestyles and modes of production, along with rapidly evolving cultural expectations have lead to a decline in traditional crafts and often social status.
The challenge here is working hand in hand to take advantage of emerging commercial opportunities for traditional crafts and pass their skills to future generations with pride.

Unusual glamorous sunset turning over to the darkness interwoven with light, golden, brown sun lines on their skies before Baratis after saying their evening prayers went into their night dreaming. I viewed it from a place where the wind carried small rare white blossoms. As in a dream everything was simple and clear. The silence now was overwhelming. Far bellow a yellow haze hid the desert of the east and blinding glare in a land without shade or cloud. We breathe their air, their scent and their strength. It was a rare moment, and I wanted to interrupt it as long as it was untouched in order to receive it untouched another time.