Manakha is situated at a height of about 1500 metres in an anticline within the more than 2000-metre high towering mountains of the Haraz range. Manakha had always served as a natural fortress town for defence ahead of Sana’a. The strategic advantageous location on the steep slopes made the construction of a town wall unnecessary. Nowadays, the main connecting road leads from the Red Sea up to Sana’a, passing the small town on its way. A visit to the wild jagged mountainous region belongs to the scenic highlights of a tour around Yemen.
Beginning at Manakha, a track winds along the mountain slopes up to the 2000-metre high village of Al Hajjarah whose name means “the stony one”. Large parts of the mountainous slopes are terraced; mainly millet and qat but also some coffee is cultivated. The terraces and villages in the Haraz mountains around Manakha are considered to be the most beautiful in Yemen – and Al Hajjarah as the most beautiful town in the Haraz mountains! The tower like houses of this defended village are built so close together that they – built on a steep rock face -, form a closed wall of protection. There is only one single narrow entrance to the village, which is closed off by a heavy wooden door. The up to five storey high houses in Al Hajjarahs are superimposed on the uneven rock surface – a bold accomplishment by Yemeni master-builders.