By Tamjid alkohali
Despite how the towering mountains, and hazardous roads, make reaching Haraz City difficult, National Yemen’s desire to convey the unique customs and traditions from up close made us exceed all difficulties to reach it. The city is charming, and from the peak of its mountains, you can see it as a painting that mixes colors with white clouds, as well as bring and optimistic people who are as friendly as the mountain tops.
“Despite the elevation of the mountains reaching nearly 3 200 meters above sea level, the weather is warm and comfortable. It only becomes very cold at the beginning of the day during winter, but the sunrise turns the weather into something warm and beautiful,” said Kareem al-Harazi, one of the region’s citizens and our guide through its villages.
Al-Harazi explained on one of the mountains that Haraz is a very high and mountainous area, and on the top of each mountain is a fortress-like village This is because Haraz was the stronghold of the Sulaihid Dynasty in the 11th century, and many of the buildings still survive. The most prominent ones are in al-Hejra, al-Hutaib, Masaar, Kahil, and Shibam, with each one being considered a heritage landmark.
Proudly, he told us about the civilization of each village, saying that Masaar fortress was built by Ali bin Mohammed al-Soliehi in 448 AH to protect himself from a strategically defensive location. It occupies nearly the entire peek. Afterwards, he showed us al-Hutaib, saying that it was built around the same period in 439 to 459 AH.
“This fortress has been occupied to the present, and it still has some of its fences around it. Some of the old houses have unfortunately been removed as it became a village instead of a fortress.” He went on to point out that al-Hejra village has ancient stones, and is known for its distinctive architecture and residential arrangements.
There is even more to enjoy. Al-Harazi told us about the beauty of arrangement among the scent of coffee trees, showing us the charming landscapes and agricultural terraces which can be seen from the mountain tops. Haraz is known for producing the best Yemeni coffee, as well as other crops, which benefit from its valleys and river system.
It is no surprise to me that it is considered one of the most important tourist landmarks in Sana’a. The houses seem like they are hanging in the sky when the fog touches the villages. They are truly cities in the sky.