Marib, Shabwah & desert


2600 years ago, Baraqish – the ancient Yathill – was one of the most important towns in the empire of Ma´in. The location on the most important incense road, and the construction of an elaborate irrigation system in the area brought the town wealth, which had to be protected: A solid town wall still impressively surrounds the hill ruin. Italian archaeologists have excavated parts of the 14-metre high wall, such as a temple, which during its five hundred year use, had been reconstructed several times.


Marib is by far the most well known ancient town in Yemen: The early days of the capital of the legendary empire of Saba reach as far back as 3000 years before christ. Even in those days, one started to channel the floods of rainfall from the mountains with use of an elaborate system of dams down to the Marib oasis, enabling the irrigation of vast areas of fields. Remains of the imposing structures can be viewed, such as both the temples excavated by the archaeologists. Current research is concentrated on the town, where it is possible that at one time, the palace of the queen mentioned in the Koran and bible was to be found.

 Shabwah (Desert journey)

Approximately 200 kilometres east of Marib, beyond vast dunes, lie the ruins of a further ancient location: Shabwa was the capital city of the Hadramaut, which together with the empire of Saba , rivalled to dominate the region. Today it is hard to believe that this settlement lying in such a barren and solitude region, was at one time surrounded by green fields. An important factor for the choice of location was most certainly the presence of the nearby salt mines.

Jeeps of ATG in the desert

Mountain in Shabwah

Temple in Shabwah

Traditional houses