Dar Al-Hajar: An intriguing story behind a monument [Archives:2008/1143/Last Page]

April 3 2008

By: Ismael Al-Ghaberi
Dar Al-Hajar is located at the western suburbs of Sana'a in the famous Dhahr valley, and is truly a Yemeni architectural wonder. The palace represents architectural excellence and shows how people cope with nature and turn its complications into man-made monuments. All this unfolds to whoever visits Wadi Dhahr; on an overlooking mountain peak, one can see a huge palace built on top of a rock in the heart of the valley which is surrounded by fruit trees. The fame of the valley goes back ages, as indicated by drawings found on the valley rocks, which led archeologists to conclude that the valley was inhabited before recorded history. The first mention of Wadi Dhahr was in the seventh century B.C. in the famous Al-Nasr Picture, which revealed a significant period of Yemeni history. This drawing earned its significance because the one who recorded it is Karb Al-Watribin Dhamar Ali Makrab Saba. The drawings convey that the valley appeared during the prosperous Sabaean period inside the territory of the Dhee Ma'dhan tribe.

The name “Dar Al-Hajar”” refers to the rock which the palace was built on. Narrations differ on the age of this high palace; some claim it goes back to the pre-Islamic era. But there is unanimity that the palace