Al-JAWF: Land of mosques and temples [Archives:2005/896/Last Page]

November 21 2005


Wadi Al-Jawf (valley) includes ruins of several towns and sites of historical and archeological attraction. Those were ancient Yemeni regions once settled by people who lived under the rule of Maeen dynasty in Yemen. The provincial center is called Hazm Al-Jawf, 140 km to the northeast of Sana'a and situated within the geographical sphere historically known as the East of Yemen apart from Jabal Allaudah and a few other mountains on the western side.

Most of Al-Jawf land is a desert. The remaining areas are either semi-arid or fertile plains irrigated with the Wadi waters. One of the main wadis in the region of Al-Jawf is Al-Kharid Wadi, approximately 60km long and 30km wide embracing vast fruit farms along its banks, and it is historically known as Jawf Valley.

However, there is an historical site of the “Ushaiter” temple, situated some 700 meters east of Al-Sowda'a, which is known today as among the most reputed ancient temples and very accurately decorated construction ever been built by ancient Yemeni architects and artists. A French archaeological expedition discovered it in 1980 in cooperation with Public Corporation of Archeology Barat and Souq Al-Anan.

This area is accessible from Al-Harf area via a 65km-long dirt road. It is mountainous and hilly place with a valley adjacent to and connected with the plain areas.

The lifestyle of the population is predominantly nomadic. Some of the villages boast of wonderful architectural style. Outstanding are the villages of Al- Marashi, Rajouza and Souq Al-Anan. The houses of Souq Al- Anan are colorfully decorated on the outside, with ornamental decorations around the windows as well as white gypsum motifs.

Al-Beida'a & Al-Sowda'a Cities

These two cities are located in AL-Masloop province in AL-Jawf. The two cities are twenty kilometers far from each other and their names are attributed to the color of their stones. AL-Sowda'a, means the black, but its former name was Qarnaw, while AL-Beida'a, means the white named after the color of its snow-white stones.

Both towns are rich with their landmarks, antiquities, archeological pieces and engraves. They are also famous for their unique architecture engrafted with various geometric figures.

Yatheel Town

Yatheel; the archeological town is considered as the first place and phenomenon of the Maeen density. It was the religious capital of Maeen dynasty.

It is located about 10 kilometers to the west of Al- Hazm city and it is still keeping its religious features as a religious capital for Maeen dynasty. A wall, approximately 8 meters high, surrounds Yatheel and it is still in good condition despite the elapse of very many years, including 57 towers and two gates, one on the eastern side and the other on the western side.


It is to the south of AL-Khalak province, about 5 kilometers to the west of the main paved road that links AL-Jawf governorate to Sana'a, the capital, and governorate of Mareb.

The archaeological city of Barakesh is a majestic fort built on a high hill and surrounded with well-fortified walls that were renewed by the Sabaens in 450 B.C.

A visitor to the city of Barakesh can obviously see the many ancient temples existent there. The most important of which is the Ushaiter temple. However, Barakesh Mosque is also one of the most ancient landmarks in this city and was built by Imam Abdullah Bin Hammzah in 480 A.H.

The main mountains in “Al- Jawf”

Allaudah Mountain:

Allaudh Mountain is situated to the east of Al-Jawf, where there are ancient archaeological sites, and a temple lies at its foot, while the pathway leading to its summit is still existent.

Barat Mountain

It is a high mountain permeated with fertile valleys where various types of fruit are grown, especially figs as well as vineyards. It overlooks the area of Najran to the north and the areas of Khab and the Empty Quarter to the east.

Al-Rayyan Mountain

It is a big mountain on the northeast of Al-Jawf.

Al-Boras Mountain:

Located between Raghwan and Marib and is merely consisting of plateaus known as Jabal Al-Borqan.