Nadirahs glorious past & promising future [Archives:2002/18/Reportage]

April 29 2002

Like an ancient hidden city off the beaten track, the historic Yemeni city of Nadirah is waiting to be rediscovered
On the banks of Wadi Bana, the river which comes from Haqil in Kitab to the Arabian Sea, lies the district of Nadirah. Its between al-Awd and al-Wmmar mounts to the north east of Ibb, the green liwa (governorate).
Ibb has its name because of its fertile soil and nice weather. During summer rainy season, the ground is completely covered with green grass. And Nadirah seems like an apple sitting on a green carpet, offering a beautiful view.
Historically this district has included Sahhah, Quatuba, Shiar and Yarim, which have more than two hundred historical sites. They include the kingdom of Shafar in Yarim and the newly discovered kingdom in al-awd mount.
During the Imamite era, Nadirah became the headquarters of the ruler al-Amil for its strategic geographic position. The first Amil, the ruler who represented the Imam in the region, was Abdul-Rahman al-Iryani president of the republic.
An old man, in the area Haff Whaib Hadi Ali, described life in Nadirah in the 1940s like this:
Official areas of interest were the Beit-Amil (the lower government), the prison, Beitil-silk or wire telecommunications on the prison, the post office in which there was only a clerk and a postman, the financial manager office and the court.
The number of houses were only ten in Upper Nadirah, and some of them acted as restaurants for visitors. On a nearby hill was al-Haddi fortress which was built two hundred years earlier.
Sunday market as it was known in all Yemeni towns had grocers, craftsmen and sellers come from different places to sell their goods. In Nadirahs market, such people came from Dhalea and Quatuba on Saturday to hold the market on Sunday. Then they went to Saddah on Monday and so on. Interestingly, carpenters, goldsmith, bedmakers, weavers and tailors were all Jewish.
They had temporary old shops which they sold later. The Jews were three classes. First, the rich traders who imported goods from Aden and India like rice, incense and fabrics. Second, the middle class who sold and bought fenugreek, cumin and black seeds. Third, the lower class were the above craftsmen.
Schools were needed for youngsters in Nadirah and the surrounding villages of Jabjab, Haryah, Lafajain, Dar Oqdah, and Jirf il-Nimr. They werent elaborate. For example, there was one one simple school, called Maktab al-Nadirah, in which there was one teacher, Mr. Hameed, and the assistant.
Subjects taught were Quran, calligraphy, religion and mathematics. The number of pupils totalled 50-60 only because people were afraid of sending their kids, since they needed them for assisting them in agricultural activities.
The teacher was paid 8-10 rials and a bag or two of grain by the financial manager. As for the postman, a part of each telegrams charge was given to him as a salary, while the rest was sent to Sanaa.
After the September Revolution of 1962, many Yemenis migrated to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries to work and send money to their families. They made use of it in rebuilding and construction.
More over, many villagers came and settled in Nadirah, so it gradually began to increase in size. Some Arab countries built schools in Nadirah. Kuwait built a primary school during the 1960s, but later that was moved into Wadi Bana and another school called al-Jeel al-Jadeed was built in the 1980s. That was later changed into Balqis in 1991.
Before unification Nadirah was on the politically-charged border between North and South Yemen. So it had a tense atmospheres for years. Then circumstances improved. More schools were established in the villages, a big hospital in the name of Martyr Abdul-Mughni was built in Dar Saad and clinics were built in Jabjab, Suba and Shakab Ammar.
In 1996 M.E. Ali Abdullah Saleh opened the college of education and communication center. Later, the road to Saddah and Kitab was paved, new, large buildings were built and a water pump was built to supply the town with water. A new electricity grid is to be built next.
If more roads are paved, things like more tourist resorts, restaurants, museums and casinos near Saddah Falls could all bring a new and improved era to the district.