Tarim Palaces

Tarim is famous for its innumerable palaces - a collection of approximately thirty mansions constructed between the 1870s and 1930s. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Hadhramaut’s merchant families grew rich from trade and investments abroad. The al-Kaf family was considered the most influential. Many members of the family were respected religious scholars. At the same time, they were among the regions first Westernizing elite and contributed to public works projects in the name of modernization. Their palaces remain as testament to both their affluence and the complex identity of the modernizing elite of the colonial period. Palaces financed by the al-Kafs and other families were executed in the stylistic idioms they encountered in British India and Southeast Asia. Consequently, the palaces include examples of Mughal, British Colonial, Art Nouveau, Deco, Rococo, Neo-Classical, and Modernist styles unparalleled in Yemen. While these foreign decorative styles were incorporated into the Tarimi architectural idiom, traditional Hadhrami construction techniques based on the thousand-year-old traditions of unfired mud brick and lime plasters served as the primary methods for executing these buildings.


Tarim’s famous Al-Muhdar mosque is crowned by a 53 meters (175 ft) high, and recognized to be one of the tallest earth structures in the world. The minaret was designed by the local poets Abu Bakr bin Shihab and Alawi Al Mash’hûr. Completed in 1914, the al-Muhdar mosque is named in honor of Omar Al-Muhdar, a Muslim leader who resided in the city during the 15th century.


Al-Kafs Palace is Tarim's most flamboyan, apparently using a book of different architectural styles as a templatre, kind of project. It was beautiful in old days, havinf the mirror ceiling, decor pillars inside the palace. Going up to the 3rd level and get a splendid view of the city of Tarim.