Soon after passing Al Qabai, the famous seventeenth century bridge comes into view, which join the Jebel Al Amir and the Jebel Feesh. This astonishing work was constructed by the architect Salah Al –Yaman to connect the settlement of Shaharah tough limestone blocks.
A cursory glance at the base of the arch reveals the existence of earlier attempts to bridge this narrow yet precipitous gap. The bridge, along with Dar al-Hajar and the walled city of Shibam, has become one of the main images of Yemeni tourism, and it appears on the 10YR coin.
The biggest problem with visiting Shaharah has been its greatest asset throughout the centuries – its sheer inaccessibility. A trip to visit the village necessitates a good deal of time, and usually involves an overnight stay.
So, if you view the trip as a means to experience remote mountain villages and glimpse a peek at tribal culture, with the added bonus that you will be able to witness an amazing architectural masterpiece, the benefits will start to weight in a favour of a trip.
Even so, when you reach the bridge, try to refrain as long as you can from taking a picture. Far too many tourists simply snap a picture and then retreat to the safety of their hotels within five minutes.
Sit down, take in the scenery, and enjoy it. (Granted, the view of the bridge may be too much for the camera finger to bear. Just remember to enjoy the trip while you are there, as well as vicariously through photos later).
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