Dar Al Hajar (Rock Palace)دار الحجر

I must admit that as a middle eastern girl I am passionate about Islamic architecture. Unfortunately, in university we don’t study much about it, we mostly focused on Europe. So I research some places and buildings on internet and here is what I found this week. Dar Al Hajar is a Yemeni architectural wonder and symbol of the country. It is located at the western suburbs of Sana’a (the capital of Yemen). It is perched atop a rock pinnacle at the famous Wadi Dhahr Valley. The historical five-storey palace was built by Yemen’s ruler Imam Mansour Ali Bin Mehdi Abbas in 1786 AD. The building was superbly shaped and constructed to accommodate the rocks. In the 1930s, the late Yemeni monarch Imam Yahya Hameed Al-Din added the upper story and annexes and used it as his summer residence. Now it’s museum and it’s open to the public. I recommend you to watch the clip below and also check out this 3D virtual tour of the palace.
Photograph: Matthew & Sanae (MaSa), Flickr * via  travelthemiddleeastPhotograph:  yeowatzup, Flickr * via travelthemiddleeast Photographs: ekskurziiPhotograph: Antti Salonen via Wikipedia
View from the roof Photographs: traveladventures
Photograph: Michail Vorobyev via 2leep

There is something else I want to share with you, that is not associated with the subject. We suffered an earthquake 5,8 Richter here in Sofia. It struck at 2:58 am Tuesday morning. It was very strong. I’ve never experienced anything like this. We fled our homes and gathered in the streets, where we spent the rest of the night. It was a real nightmare. Thank God, there are no casualties or significant damage, but a lot of broken glass, brick pieces, mortar to be cleaned.
Since that I can’t stop thinking about the important non material things in life and keep asking myself “Why do we have to experience a natural disaster so we can appreciate what we have?!”. I truly believe that this earthquake was  a reminder from God that “he created the world and can destroy the world.”
I just wanted to share with you my experience and my thoughts and I want to  remind you to be grateful for what you have. 😉

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21 responses

  1. Whew! I’m happy to hear you suffered no major harm, Nadia. Dar Al Hajar is a fantastic structure – thanks for sharing the photos & video.

    Like

    23/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

    • You are welcome, Sid 😉

      Like

      24/05/2012 at 12:41 AMMay

  2. Fascinating work of art ,,l hope in near future l will visit these magnificent places.Maa al salama.JMS

    Like

    23/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

  3. I am sorry to read about the earthquake in Sofia .Here in California we experience more often the earthquake.It’s blessing there wasn’t any damage or injuries. Take care.JMS

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    23/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

    • Ahleen JM, I truly believe it’s a blessing!! God has mercy on us!

      Like

      24/05/2012 at 12:41 AMMay

  4. Beautiful Place…

    Most of our life is Spent Focusing on Our Own Individual Journey… I wouldn’t say none of us Appreciate what we have… I think, at least with someone like you, and me… That we’re just out there “Journeying”… Your Blog alone stands as a Testament of Your Appreciation for the Beauty of things.

    Natural Disasters, I believe, are just Part of Our Planets Nature… And thus it’s totally Natural that they would Occur… Just like it’s Natural for us to be Afraid.

    Perhaps it’s God, or The Gods, Flexing Their Muscles as a Reminder to Appreciate what we have in Our Day to Day… But More Likely, it’s just Part of this Planets Natural Progression… We Are Part of this Planet, but we are also “Inhabitants” of it… Meaning, we Need to Work with what is around us… In fact on that note, that’s why Architecture is So Important… The better the Architecture, The Better the odds that we will Survive such things as Earth Quakes.

    I understand Why You are Afraid, Hell I live in Southern California… I’ve had an Earth Quake Literally Throw me out of Bed, and Fling the TV Across The Room…

    Look up The “Northridge Quake” On Line, it might have been 1994…

    I don’t Feel that We’re Meant to Stand Around Appreciating Our Loved One’s all of the time… That sounds Terrible, but what I mean is, “The Journey” is the Thing… We should be “Exploring” This World, and Our Lives, and The People of this world… Which it sounds like to me, You Are.

    So don’t feel too bad, like you Don’t Appreciate what you have… If you didn’t, your mind wouldn’t go right to those things in the Face of Extreme Conditions… No, the reason you start to think about those things More, is Because Those are the Foundations of who you are… And an Earth Quake merely “Shakes” you to your Foundations… But Foundations are Meant to be Built Upon, and once again, that’s what This Journey is all about.

    No Naida, there may indeed be people out there Not Appreciating Life, but You Are Surely Not One of Them… Someone Who Brings Beauty To Light Like you do with Your Blog, is Someone that is “Truly Journeying”…

    So Carry on… And I am Glad that you are ok

    DarkJade-

    Like

    23/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

    • Thank you for the positive comment DarkJade. I guess you are right.
      I checked out the “Northridge Quake” of 1995 on Wikipedia. It had a magnitude of 6.7, it was a little bit stronger then the one on Tuesday. Yesterday I told my friends I won’t ever move to Japan, Turkey or California 😀

      About that “The better the Architecture, The Better the odds that we will Survive such things as Earth Quakes.” –> You are right, but I just want to note that the reliability of the building systems is a civil engineer’s responsibility. 😉

      Like

      24/05/2012 at 12:41 AMMay

      • Lol, Spoken like an Architect… Ok, ok, so maybe they’re “Officially” Responsible, Lol

        It’s Funny, Japan is one of My Favorite Cultures, but I don’t suspect I’d ever Move there either, Lol… I’ve Lived in California Most of My Life, so I’m a bit Used to Earthquakes… But People that aren’t, Often Completely Freak Out, Lol

        And I understand… The Earth is what’s Beneath us… It’s are Greatest Sense of Stability so to speak.

        So to have it Shake and Move beneath you, I can’t Imagine what that must be like for someone that hasn’t grown up with it like I have.

        People Used to Move to California for The “Dream”, whether that’s to be an Actor, or a Musician or Whatever… And then the Earthquakes would Shake them into Moving to one of the States Next to us, Like Arizona, or Colorado, Lol

        A Girl I used to date was from Florida, and she said she’d take Hurricanes any day over Earthquakes… At least you can see those Coming, Lol

        But Hurricanes would Freak me Out, Lol

        In all Honesty, I’ve barely felt any Earthquakes here in Years… I’m in Southern California, not sure People in Northern California can say the same… The Weather is Amazing Here, which is one of the Major Draws… And at the moment I’m staying with My Mom, who owns a House 7 Miles from the Ocean… It’s the House I Grew up in… So we Get Amazing Weather Here… Sometimes Cool Breezes, sometimes Even Fog Rolling over the Hills… We’re in a Canyon Valley.

        But yeah, the Difference Between a 5.8 Earthquake, and a 6.7 Earthquake, is Huge… But 5.8’s are still Pretty Scary… Especially If You’re Close to where it Hit… So like I say, I’m Glad you’re ok.

        Hey I don’t know if I mentioned I do some Admin./Marketing Consulting for an Architect… He’s actually My Mom’s Boyfriend of 30+ years, He does some Amazing Stuff… You should Check out His Site http://www.warrenlawson.com/architecture4/projects.html , and also His Blog which you can get to from that Site… But Check Out His Project Page… He used to Work for a Guy Who Studied Under Frank Lloyd Wright, whose really one of his Heroes… Frank Lloyd Wright is Awesome.

        DarkJade-

        Like

        24/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

      • I Replied again, but it May have Gone To Your Spam… Because it had a Link in it

        DarkJade-

        Like

        24/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

      • Noooo, It didn’t go to Spam, There it is, Lol

        Like

        24/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

    • I checked out his website. I like his projects 😉 Thank you for sharing!

      Like

      24/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

      • You’re Welcome

        DarkJade-

        Like

        24/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

  5. Islamic architecture is so interesting and so different from European.
    Dar Al Hajar is so beautiful ! Do you know how is “very beautiful” in arabic ?
    Maybe “marra hellwa” ? I’m not sure ))
    Of course I’ve heard about the earthquake. I don’t know anybody in Sofia,so I thought about you at this moment ) Be careful.

    Like

    23/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

    • In Arabic “marra” means “time” (awel marra = first time). You can tell a girl she is “helwa” which means “sweet”. But when it comes to a building, I am not sure if you can say “helwa”. Literally “jamil” means “beautiful” 😉

      Like

      24/05/2012 at 12:41 AMMay

      • Thank you ))

        Like

        24/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

  6. It is sad but true that you have to go through a wake up call to actually wake up and see that the materialistic things most people seem to need, is not all that there is to life! I’ve had to give up so much this past year, and it has lifted my spirits. I’m just thankful for what I have right now. And realizing more and more that I don’t need materialistic things to make me happy – I rather have experiences and memories to look back on.

    Like

    24/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

    • You are on the right way, Sara. I admire you for coming to a country you don’t know much about it, with a language you don’t speak. I am sure that this experience will be helpful for you in the future!! 😉 By the way, how was the pizza? 🙂

      Like

      24/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

      • Thank you, Nadia! It takes some time to fully adapt to any country and I’m certainly doing my best :).
        Oh, I haven’t made the pizza yet 😉

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        25/05/2012 at 12:41 AMMay

  7. What an interesting building! thanks for sharing. and very happy to hear that everyone was safe after the earthquake.

    Like

    28/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

    • You are welcome! 🙂

      Like

      29/05/2012 at 12:41 AMMay

  8. Me & Beirut

    Woooooow, the pictures are really incredible! The building is magical! Well chosen, as usual 🙂

    Like

    31/05/2012 at 12:41 PMMay

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