The Marib Dam
- As the Sabaean kingdom developed, they built a huge earth
filled dam in the second half of the 6th century BC to hold back
some of the water that came down the wadi. From the lake that
developed behind the dam, they developed a splendid irrigation
system that watered about 25, 0000 acres.
During the years that I lived in Yemen, I had the opportunity
to visit the ruins of the quarter-mile-long Marib Dam. I also
viewed the new modern dam as it was built and the huge water reservoir
that filled up behind the dam. When the ancient reservoir re-filled
with water, hundreds of old dry wells and water canals scattered
through the desert below the dam suddenly filled with water again.
The ancient farmlands, that for centuries had lain deserted, were
suddenly usable again.
- Above: The modern dam is on the right. You can see people
walking on the road across the top of the dam. Further to the
right of this is the new lake created by the dam. Behind the
dam is the wadi where water would have rushed out into the desert.
The ancient dam is farther down this wadi, near the beginning
of the wadi. Its location is marked by a rectangle.
Below: With a telephoto lens we can make out the sluice
gates of the old dam. The are clearly visible on the right hand
side of the wadi.
- Above: Inscription on the sluice gates of the Marib
Copyright 2002 CanBooks
Yemeni Pages in Nabataea.net
Above: The city of Baraqish known as Yathul in ancient times.
This city was the capital of the Minaean Kingdom around 400 BC.
It is located about 30 km north from the dam and must be accessed
by 4 wheel drive. (Picture used with permission. Copyright Ryo
YAMANA. Please visit his
site Fiddler's Photo Album to view more pictues from Yemen)