This governorate was named after the name of the well-known city of Marib, the Capital of the Sabaean Kingdom in the ancient times. It involves the most outstanding symbols of the ancient Yemeni civilization, which flourished mainly in the first millennium BC. The new city of Marib the capital of the province lies at a distance of 172 km to the east of Sana’a.
It is the oldest Ma’innean city and the first capital of the Kingdom of Ma’in. it was also the most important religious center for the Ma’ineans.
This site is situated in an interesting location of the desert-like area on al-Hazm Road, 125 km away from Sana’a. it is surrounded by a still existing wall, which is considered to be the best preserved among the walls of the ancient Yemeni cities. The southern part of it is still in good condition. The height of this wall in some parts reaches 8 m.
The wall of the city used to have 57 towers with two gates, one in the west and the other in the east. The Sabaeans rebuilt the wall after they had conquered the city 450 BC. Baraquish (ancient name Yathul) was also the latest of the military campaigns led by the Roman leader, Alias Gallous in 24 BC.
In the southern part of the city there are relics of the temple, which represents the dominating architectural pattern of the Minian,, characterized by 16 vertical and horizontal columns. Some believe that it was a temple for Ahttar, the morning star. There is still the center of the city with four columns. The site had been never deserted completely and continued to be inhabited even in modern times up to 1960.
There are also many other archaeological sites surrounding Baraquish, some of which located on the Incense Road, scattered in Wadi Majzer and among of which are: Kharibat al-Lisan, the old dam in al-Lisasn Valley to the east of Baraquish and al-Ahqaf, Darb al-Sab.
The Northern Mount of Balaq …up…
(Sheba Valley Panorama)
across the road passing by the northern sluice of the great dam, the visitor can reach a certain point in the canals of the Dam, which used to water the land of the “Two Gardens”.
Marib Ancient City …up…
This is the capital of the Sabaean Kingdom. It was mentioned in “the Holly Qura’n and the Bible”, which related to the story of the visit of Balquis, the Queen of Shiba, to Prophet Solomon (peace to be upon him) about 950 BC. Marib is associated with the name of Sheba (Saba’ in Arabic), which is the oldest and the most famous of the Yemeni Ancient Kingdoms.
It has been associated also with many symbols of Yemeni history and civilization, and is the largest and the most famous of the ancient cities.
Marib is situated on the left bank of Dhana Valley, which flows in Saihad Desert. Its location made it possible to control the incense trade route. The village of Marib is situated on a small part of the ancient city, of which area is the incense trade route. estimated to be more than one hundred hectares. It was encircled by a stonewall with three gates from the northern, western, and the southeastern directions.
It is believed that the present village was built over the ruins of the Sabaean historical palace (Salhin). In the ancient city, there are four temples, two in the northern part, and one in the southern part. The huge stone columns nearby the well represent the fourth temple.
Marin witnessed both rise and fall of the Yemeni ancient civilization and retrained its fame up through ages until today.
Some believe that Marib must have been built sometime in the second millennium BC, but the exact date when the city was built is unknown. The Sabaean inscriptions indicate however, that many Sabaenan Kings participated in building the city and set up some of its facilities during the first half of the first millennium BC. It is most probable that the city was established at the start of the Ancient Yemeni civilization, as concluded by some researchers. The city is still waiting for the excavation works to be carried out.
Mrib Dam …up…
The history of Marib, as indicated by the ancient ascriptions, dates back to the eight century BC, however, the results of the research made by the German archaeological expedition in one of the areas below the dam showed that the setting up of the Dam passed several phases between the stat of the 2nd millennium and the jj1st millennium BC.
But whenever, the start is, the indisputable point is that Mrib Dam was a constant landmark associated always with Saba’civilization since the beginning, through the time of flourishing until it declined.
This Dam is the most famous of all historical monuments of Yemen. It has the finest ancient masonry architecture in Arabia, built between the northern mount of Balaq and the southern one, across Dhana valley, in which floods are flowing from the runoffs in the heights, east of the regions: Dhamar, Radaa, Murad, and Khawlan, during two seasons between April to August.
The dam drains such flood immediately in order to irrigate tie land of the two gardens, they are of which is estimated to be more than 72 sq. km. The length of the dam was 720 m long about 15 m high, while the thickness of the dam wall at the base was 60 m. the foundation of the dam structure was built of huge stones over which there was an earthen wall plastered with stone and gravel from both sides.
At both ends of the Dam, there were two sluices through which water used to pass to the irrigation networks of the two gardens. The old dam was not intended for only storing water, as is the case with the new dam, but the main junction was to elevate the of water and to divert it to reach the two gardens on both sides of the valley bed. The dam was subject to many repairs and renovation, the latest of which was about 550 AD.
The walls of the sluices are still existing and well preserved almost as described by the great Yemeni scholar Al-Hamadani mire than 1000 year ago.
Jufaina Dam …up…
This dam lies 8 km to the south west of the center of Marib province. It is connected to the system of Mrib Great Dam, dating back to the first millennium BC. It is a diversion dam for the surplus water of the great dam and also in order to increase the area of the two gardens. The dam has four canal built of well-hewed stones, supported with 10 m high and 300 m long walls. The width of the foundation of wlls reaches four meters, on and a half meter, and one mere at the top. The dam was damaged in the 2nd Sabaean period, but the walls were rebuilt with volcanic untidy stones covered with pebbles namely, from 350 to 100 BC.
The Diversion Dam (A) …up…
For construction (A) as called by the German Archaeological Expedition which explored the location 1988-1989. This dam is about 200 meters to the east of the great dam, lying in the midst of Dhana valley.
It is the last of the diversion dams, which had been installed through time in many locations at the watercourse of Dhana valley prior to the construction of the great dam. Researches indicate that this dam was built one thousand to two thousand years earlier than the installation of Marib great dam. It was 55 meters long and 30 meters wide.
Through the still existing walls (consisting of 2 meters long stones), it is concluded that the dam was built in such a way as to resist the thrusts of floods; hence the stones were joined with lead. The problem that then faced the people was the accumulation of alluvial mud and sedimentation.
Building the dam, however, in the suitable natural location and to let the dam burst to “clean” itself now and then, was a good solution for that problem, and so the wonder has been actualized in the world of ancient irrigation.
The Sabaean Well …up…
This is located on the right hand side, a few meters west of Old Marib.
The mouth of the well a few meters high while the depth is 35 meters. The well is square in shape built according to a distinct style of architecture. There is one stone in every side of the structure. The archaeological value of the well is known only after discovering the Holy well in the Temple of Bara’n (Balquis Throne).
Mahram Balquis (Awanm Temple) …up…
This is located 4 km to the southeastern of Mairb village. It is a temple for the God, Almaqah, and God of Moon. The Ancient Yemenis devoted themselves to worship Sun, Moon, and Morning Star. This temple is believed to be the main temple in Marib. It is oval in shape. It is most likely that it was not roofed. The main entrance is located in the north side’ opposite to the door there is a parlor with side columns. Ten meters away from the entrance, eight big columns erected in one line.
There is also a small stone structure with four columns, which is believed to have been built over the tombs on the eastern side.
The long axis of the temple 84 m.
The short axis 82.1 m
Wall width 3.90 m.
Wall height 9.00 m.
The name “Mahram Balquis” is associated with the story of Queen Balquis and her relationship with King Solomon. The temple has a stonewall decorated with an upper molding in the same style of the well-known Sabaean style.
The building of the temple dates back prior to the 8th century BC. The inscriptions indicate that the Temple had continued to perform its function for nearly one thousand years. The temple together with the Sabaean deities was neglected in the 4th century AD, when one of the Kings of Himyar adopted Christianity in about 360 AD.
Partial excavation were conducted in the Temple by the American Foundation for Study of Man in the on-set of the fifties but have not yet been completed.
Throne of Balquis (Bar’an Temple) …up…
This lies 1400 m t o the northwestern direction of Mahram Balquis. It is a Sabaean Temple devoted to the Almaqah, the Moon God.
This temple comes next to Awam Temple in importance, and is locally known as “al-Amaid” or the throne of Bilpuis.
A German Archaeological mission explored this temple, where upon they found it to be square in shape with an open yard involving the sacred well in the middle, together with a pool supplied with water by a funnel from the mouth of the statue of the Holy Taurus.
The hall is surrounded with a number, of walls from the north, west, and south. In front of the western wall there erect a number of marble seats, and from the open yard there are 12 steps leading to the sacred room where the six columns stand (now there are only five columns, the sixth being broken) with decorated crowns.
Every column is 17 tons, 350 kg in weight, 12 m in length, and 80 × 60 cm in thickness.
The sacred room of the temple is surrounded with a brick wall with towers, while the gate is located in the northern direction. From the excavations, it was concluded that the building of this temple had undergone two phases:
The first phase started during the 2nd millennium until the beginning of the 1st millennium BC whereas. A partial suspension took again during the 4th century AD.
This is a site located on the road between Sana’a and Marib at a distance of 120 km to the east of Sana’a and 37 km to the west of Mrib. Serwaah is one of the ancient Yemeni monumental sites, and seems to be in better condition than many other sites. The sites of Serwah head the list of the prominent Yemeni monumental sites, only next to Marib.
The most important ancient sites in Serwah are:
- The Temple of Moon God, which dates back to the onset of the first millennium BC. It had continued performing its functions until the 4th Sabaean Age. This site was built on a hill, which is 10 m higher than the surface level of the valley. The eastern part of the temple is still standing in a semi-circular shape with a 7 m height and a tidy burnished stone. The western wall is connected to the four columns. It includes the Dining Table surrounded by stone seats. There is agate for the Temple in the southern side and next to it there is the victory inscription of Ancient Yemeni inscribed during the 7th century BC. The sacred well exists, (still in operation today) 30 m to the north of the temple.
There is also a tower, which is 10 m high as well as some parts of another temple.
In fact, the monuments of Serwah are considered very wonderful examples of the Sabaean architecture. German Archaeologists carried out excavation of the site during the seasons of 1993 and 1994.
Ramlat al-Saba’atain Road …up…
This is an existing touristic road located between Marib and Shabwa at the outskirts of Saihad Deset which is known today as Rmlat al-Saba’atain. Across the high sand dunes you will have hours of pleasure and amusement starting at the sunrise. The head of the mid-day maybe moderated by a cup of tea served to the comers, in a friendly and a hospitable way under the shade of a hair-woven tent in one of the Bedouin Camps.
The Province of Marib, abode of the Sabaean, is full of historical sites in many other areas, including but not limited to:
-Hinw Az-Zurair (Dhafar Town) to the south of Harib city.
- The ruins city of aljouba.
- The monumental area of Yala.
- Al-Jarasha, al-Masaged, al-Kanais area,
- AlJudran, Jhirbat Saoud.
- Al-Kuraib, al-Asahil, the old dam in Faghwan are and many others.
- Al-Duraib, al-Asahil, the old dam in Raghwan area and many others.