"Shaharah" Shaharah by JohnniOmani

Shaharah Travel Guide: 10 reviews and 16 photos

An Ultimate Yemeni Adventure

It is one of the most famous citadels of Yemen and it played a strategic role throughout the historical stages. It still has a feeling of invincibility and it still has traditional houses and curious inhabitants.Shaharah was closed to foreigners for a long time due to tribal violence and if there is a clear window of peace while you are in Yemen then you should go. The way to Shaharah offers you amazing views and it is the most beautiful place in the Middle East. The village is built on top of the mountain at approximately 8500 ft above sea level and it was built to guard against the Ottomans. The drive itself was the most spectacular drive of my life and Shaharah is in a league of its own. A paragraph doesnt do this place justice so below I have done my best to summarize one of my most memorable experiences in the Middle East.

An Absolute WILD Journey

Shaharah is in the north of Yemen and it is famous for its 600 year old bridge not to mention its inaccessibility! After negotiating a price, driver and guard (I had to travel through tribal areas to get there) I set off. The landscape near Shaharah was out of this world with dramatic cliffs and gorges. After driving 5 hours on rough roads (have to bee seen to be believed) in a 1980 land cruiser I arrived at the bottom of the mountain. I had to pay $50 US (standard but well earned) dollars to a local Bedouin (nomadic) man to bring me up to the village and bridge above the clouds. The mountain had no man made roads and it was the roughest and bumpiest ride I have ever experienced. I felt as though my world would never stop shaking but I pushed on anyway. I stood in the back of the land cruiser holding on for my life and while taking in the scenery my driver came more than close to the edge on a dozen occasions. (2000 M down drops and my heart sank a few times to say the least) The village and its bridge were incredible and the 3 hour intense journey was worth it as I was rewarded with great hospitality and INCREDIBLE views. If you can handle amazingly rough roads (paths), have a strong stomach, speak some Arabic and have a great sense of adventure then this journey wont disappoint. Stunning.

Shahrahs Views

Travellers go to this remote mountain village to see the nearly inaccessible bridge but the village itself sits on top of a mountain which awards you with spectacular views in every direction. You can see plantations on the side of the mountains in one direction and gorges in the other direction. Driving though small villages past elderly men relaxing while chewing qat while children played football on the mountains edges was unforgettable. The entire ride was exciting and the mountains seemed as though they would never stop rising into the clouds. Yemenis go about their business as though nothing has changed in the past 500 years. The only hint that the men and villagers are in the 21st century is the presence of cell phones and Toyota landcruisers. Other than landcruisers and phones the people of Shaharah are frozen in time. Shaharah is mindblowing.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Views, architecture and heart stopping ride
  • Cons:Tribal tensions and the drive there !!
  • In a nutshell:Out of this world
  • Last visit to Shaharah: Jul 2006
  • Intro Updated Sep 15, 2007
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JohnniOmani

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