Seiyun is one of the most important administrative towns in Wadi Hadramaut. Such as nearly all towns within the oasis situated in the valley, it is surrounded by palm groves and irrigated fields. Red shimmering nearly vertical rock cliffs soar on both sides of the Wadis. A round trip through the old town and the Souq from Seiyun present an impression of the changes that have occurred in this remote region during the past 20 years. The regions history and traditions are illustrated in the small museums and the former Sultans Palace of Seiyun. One has a wonderful view across the centre of the up and coming provincial town from the roof of the majestic and towering palace.
Tarim lies in the “in itself” gradually constricting eastern part of the Wadi Hadramaut. For hundreds of years the town has been considered to be the centre of Islamic scholarship, but its trading families are also of nationwide importance. For hundreds of years, residents of the Hadramaut have been drawn to India , Southeast Asia , and to African commercial towns to conduct business. With age, many returned to their native country, and brought riches and their families with them from the foreign countries. Many of the rich trading dynasties have their headquarters in one of the numerous palaces of Tarim, of which the architecture shows a colourful mixture of various styles. The town’s landmark however, is the 60-metre tall minaret of the Al-Mihdhar-Mosque, which as all buildings of the Hadramaut, is made of air-dried clay bricks.
The first Europeans named this fascinating place the Chicago of the desert. The up to eight storey high clay houses of the walled town are built very close together. Narrow alleys wind their way through the town, of which the oldest houses are 500 years old. Shibam was probably founded in the second century after Christ, and is supposed to have looked very much like it does today. Such as the old town area of Sana'a, Shibam belongs to the cultural heritage of the human race.
Hadjarain lies on the ridge of a mountain above the large river-pebble filled Wadi and the periodically flooded fields. The sparse remains of the ancient settlement of Raybun (findings and reconstruction plans are at the museum in Seyun) at the north entrance to the Wadi Dowan, make one become familiar with the ancient colonisation of this tributary valley of the large Wadi Hadramaut. Particularly the south part of the valley is famous for its picturesque scenery and bold architecture. As from Hadjarain, the Wadi narrows down and is then followed partially by oasis’s thickly covered with palms. The palace like houses of many villages suggest a surprising amount of wealth – such as in ancient times, many from this area are drawn abroad as traders. In Yemen itself, the Wadi Dowan is above all famous for it excellent honey produced by its apiarists.
Hadjarain lies on the ridge of a mountain above the large river-pebble filled Wadi and the periodically flooded fields.
In Sif (25 kilometres away from Hadjarain, approximately 45 minutes journey along un-tarred roads), a few colourfully painted houses brighten the place up a little.
Buddah (23 kilometres away from Sif, approximately 40 minutes journey) is the market centre of the inner Wadi Dowan. It is here, that one track branches off towards the west, and leads across a part of the Djol Plateau within the Wadi Hajr, which is rarely visited by tourists. This journey is not always possible due to the track being flooded for a number of days after the seasonal rainfalls. From Buddah however, a further track climbs in an easterly direction up to Djol, and then carries on up to the main connection road between the Wadi Hadramaut and Al Mukalla. When travelling up out of the Wadi, a spectacular view is presented of the Wadi below.
Palace in Tarim
Cementery in Tarim