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Notes on the Geography of Yemen: Village

Not even 10 miles northeast of Sana'a--just before the checkpoint that puts an abrupt end to casual wandering--there's a side valley with water and people.

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Yemen: Village picture 1

We've climbed a hill overlooking the valley. Water pipes run hither and yon.

Yemen: Village picture 2

We've looking down on... well, what? A black square rimmed by a low wall, an entrance, and an opposing bump. It's not a construction site. Ideas?

Yemen: Village picture 3

Do thse graves help?

Yemen: Village picture 4

Fancier ones.

Yemen: Village picture 5

The perfect mosque, though hard on the knees. The mihrab or prayer niche points north to Mecca. The austerity doesn't leave a lot of room for creeping polytheism.

Yemen: Village picture 6

How green was this place before modern pumping? Good question. No ready answer. Slaves might have drawn water from shallow wells.

Yemen: Village picture 7

Qat, the local equivalent of caffeine-loaded chewing gum.

Yemen: Village picture 8

Passersby.

Yemen: Village picture 9

Always curious.

Yemen: Village picture 10

An abandoned fortress, although a couple of men sit in its shade.

Yemen: Village picture 11

So many questions, so few answers, but this is the entrance to the same fortress.

Yemen: Village picture 12

Construction techniques include the true arch.

Yemen: Village picture 13

Looking up at the underside of an interior staircase.

Yemen: Village picture 14

Don't be shy.

Yemen: Village picture 15

The view from the top.

Yemen: Village picture 16

Your guide and host.


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