Queen Arwa Mosque [Archives:1999/45/Culture]
Yemeni historical towns have been linked throughout history to many political and cultural changes which coincided with the various successive kingdoms which succeeded in power in Yemen.
These were embodied in the traditional landmarks which still preserve their historical features.
I will narrate the story of one of those historical landmarks. This historical landmark is Queen Arwa Mosque, located in Jiblah town, Beit Ahmad village, in Ibb governorate. This city has been known since the period of Queen Arwa Bint Ahmed. It was the capital town of Assaleheen State. Queen Arwa practiced her rule in Jiblah town until her death in 532 Hegira. She was buried inside the mosque, which is known as Queen Arwa Mosque.
Jiblah is one of the historical towns of Ibb governorate. It is 5 km from Ibb. It is connected with the city of Ibb by a long paved road. As I reached the town, I walked through an old mountain way which leads to the top of the town. The roads of the town have a distinguished style. I was impressed by the historical landmarks of the town and thought that it was an oil painting. Then I continued walking through its old narrow streets until I reached the main gate of the Islamic mosque.
The town has fascinating weather all through the seasons of the year. Its mountains are always green. It still contains such historical landmarks as Al-Azz House (Queen Arwa dwelling). The minaret of the mosque is located behind that house, which is known as ‘Hafat Addar.’
The mosque is one of the remaining landmarks of the Assaleheen State. It became one of the tourist and historical landmarks in Jiblah. Tourists come from different countries to see these ancient landmarks of Queen Arwa State. You can see the whole town through the main gate of the mosque located at the top of the mountain. This mosque contains a wooden board, which has some information about the old town. The mosque is 950 years old. It is surrounded by old buildings, which are built of mud. You can pass to the upper door of the mosque through a stone stairway. There is a decorated wooden door which contains some of the Qur’an verses.
The whole town can be seen clearly from the front of the mosque. At the corner of the front there are two small rooms, which were used for the jurists, who were active in Islamic affairs. At the back of the mosque there is a swimming pool and a steam bath. A number of classrooms are found near the mosque where the students were taught the Qur’an. The mosque and the grave of Queen Arwa were repaired in recent time, but they are still preserving their historical features. The reparation was done by the tourist sector of Jiblah.
The old buildings which surrounded the mosque on all sides are distinguished. They are different in style, adornment and in outward form.
These buildings embody the originality and civilization of that town in particular, and Yemen in general. He who comes to visit these historical landmarks, will really realize the value of the Yemeni tradition and civilization. He will have great impressions about this dreamy town.
I urge upon the tourist sector to pay more attention to these landmarks because they reflect the reality of the country. The Ministry of Culture and
Tourism has to pay more attention to the importance of these precious landmarks.