Tarim: Symphony of eternal beauty [Archives:2007/1029/Last Page]

March 1 2007
The beacon Mihdar
The beacon Mihdar
By: Ebrahim Mohammed Ba Monger
[email protected]
For Yemen Times

One would be surprised to discover a paradise in a vast desert, but there really is one! Visit Tarim and one can experience true beauty as never seen before. Amazing historical sites, ancient museums and the most attractive scenes stand side-by-side in this unique slice of beauty.

Tarim is one of Hadramout's historic cities, as well as its previous religious capital. It has been and remains a radiant center of science and knowledge, in addition to being the center of religious dissemination since Islam emerged. Religious monuments and education centers were built everywhere, with the most well-known institutes being Ribat Tarim and Dar Al-Mustafa.

Tarim is an ancient historical city named for its founder, King Tarim Bin Hadramout Bin Saba, more than 2,400 years ago. Both the cities of Shibam and Tarim are named for the two tribes of these names.

Tarim is famous for its great number of mosques, commonly said to be more than 360, the same number of days in a year. Thus, it became known as the city of worship (Abadeh).

The city also is famous due to the abundance of palm trees in farms, gardens, parks and the several palaces built throughout Tarim.

As soon as one arrives in Tarim, ancient eras spring to mind. One begins to lose control of his vision as the eyes wander around the magnificent palaces, the sides of which are crowned with branches of palm trees and which have been decorated with designs using al-noora, a white plaster type of paint. This white paint beautified the city's palaces in such a way that it made Tarim itself appear as a jewel in the heart of Wadi Hadramout.

Tarim was the pre-Islamic political capital of the Kandeh kingdom in Hadramout. It remained the political capital until 1927 when it was seized by Bader Abu Twirk, who changed the capital to Sayoun. Tarim has retained its status as the capital of religion since the beginning of the Islamic era until the present day.

Tarim is located 35 kilometers northeast of Sayoun on the west side of the main channel of Wadi Hadramout. It lies approximately 356 km. from the city of Mukalla, the capital of the Hadramout, and approximately 750 km. southeast of the capital of Sana'a. It is overlooked by mountains in the east and by palm groves in the west and south.

At 2,070 feet above sea level and a total land area of approximately 3,500 square km., the population of Tarim exceeds 100,000 inhabitants. Tarim's mud architecture is an extension of the land and the people's rights linked to it. These form the technical architecture and cultural roots of traditional building. The technique has evolved through building with mud via trial and error.

Since the beginning of humanity, man has used the building material intelligently and instinctually in many forms and patterns. Certain materials improve its properties, such as adding hay, lime, cement, straw or other substances.

Such features have caused Tarim's buildings to highlight the physical style, especially when building palaces, mosques, etc. The 175-foot archaeological landmark of Al-Mihdar Mosque, is evidence of the progress of such architectural art in Hadramout. It was built in the early 14th century by Awad Silman Afif and his brothers, who are sons of Tarim. It is considered as evidence for visitors, researchers and one of the landmarks of the city of Tarim.