If you’re looking for mountain villages to check out in Yemen, you’ll be pleased to know of Al-Hajjarah. Al Hajjarah surrounds and crowns the top of a hill. Yemeni vernacular architecture is a very prevalent part of the houses, buildings, and structures. This village was started at around the 12th century. Huge blocks of pure stone were put together to form an uninterrupted series. Graneries were commonplace, making the ability to store large amounts of food for long periods an easy possibility. There are also cisterns, which are large water reservoirs. This made it possible for the village to survive sieges and the periods in between when they had to stay within the village for long periods. The buildings are colorful and decorated with loud colors. Many say this is to keep the flies away, and it works well to do just that.
The towers built of the stone look like they come out of the rocks themselves. They look like they’re a part of the stone outcrops except for the brick like appearance of the buildings. High positions in the air made these buildings less susceptible to attacks from enemy invaders. This village served as a fortified military installation and an enclave for Muslims as well. Muslims could come there and be in an enclosed area, safe from intruders.
Visiting this Yemen military stronghold of a village can give you a closer look at what a real fortress like complex is like. There are many things you can learn about early military structures and the resources they used in the natural lay of the land. Al Hajjarah, as an example, used their high cliff like areas to keep the distance between opposing forces in a vertical fashion instead of ground to ground. It worked so well that the military was fond of using it as a stronghold.
Al Hajjarah is also good as a trekking destination as well. Trekking means to trip on foot to places that can not be accessed by vehicles. Hiking in the high up places can give you a taste of mountain air, which is always very pure and untainted by chemicals and pollution.
On terraces, cut into the mountainside, the inhabitants of this village grow many things. Among them is Qat. Qat contains a stimulant that produces excitement in the inhabitants of Yemen who are fond of partaking in the enjoyment of the plant. They also grow coffee, millet, prickly pear, and more. The mountain air makes for perfect growing conditions for nearly any plant you would want to plant in this area. Qat grows especially well because the plant is native to the area, growing for thousands of years without the advent of human disturbance. Despite law enforcement efforts around the world, Qat remains legal in Yemen because of its heritage. This village is a wonderful place to visit, and if you do get to go, don’t forget to get a tour guide to show you around.