Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography


The Sacred City from Glasshouse Media on Vimeo.
A Pictorial Visit to Yemen
copyright 2003

Putside a mud house
 We arrive at in the courtyard of a rural family north of the city of Sa'ada. As we wait in the courtyard for the adults to appear we notice the amazing mud construction of the buildings. The house is built in layers of mud. Each layer is allowed to dry, some times for several months before another layer is added on. When the adults appear we are invited in and shown around the buildings. This is the home of an extended family, with all of the uncles and their descendants living together in one large compound with various buildings.

A Yemeni vineyard
 Here we visit the vineyard. This is an example of how the ancients grew grapes. First they would "Dig the vineyard." This meant that they would dig ditches six to eight feet deep and plant the vines at the bottom. They would then grow up to the surface where they would be supported by poles placed across the ditch. Notice the poles on the right at our feet. Behind us is one of the ditches. The mud house is in the background. The men of the family would occupy the tower and the women would live in the surrounding buildings with the children and animals.
The men's quarter The men gather in the men's section, a room at the top of the tower, where they discuss the latest news, smoke their water pipes and chew Qat.
 The top floor was for men only  The windows in these houses are made out of opaque alabaster rock. It is cracked until it is very thin and then mounted into the walls so that the sun shines through.
 Selling QatChewing Qat  Qat is a mild narcotic leaf that is grown in the hills of Yemen. It can be purchased openly in the market (Left) and it is then chewed. A large ball of the leaf is kept in one's mouth in order to suck on it and get the desired effect.
 A real mouthful of QatYoung boy with an AK47  The shop keeper on the left is busy chewing Qat rather than selling his goods. The young man on the right proudly bears arms, and is part of the "men of the tribe." It is not uncommon for young men in rural setting such as this to be married.
Target Practice Guns are a common site in Yemen and everyone is either a crack shot or claims to be.
 One kitchen cooks for lots of people  In the kitchen, children wait for the food to be cooked. The stove in the background is used to cook large meals. But then, when all the uncles live together with their large families, large meals are in order.
 A brideYemeni Children dressed for the wedding  Clothing styles in rural Yemen are very unique.
Gifts for the Bride  These women are bringing gifts to a wedding. They are part of the dowry that the man's family is paying.
A school under a tree  Quranic school under a tree in the great open.
A man plowing with oxen on the side of a mountain  This man is plowing his field. Many of the fields are at very high altitude in the mountains, and sometimes the crops are literally growing in the clouds.
Nomadic camp, possibly gypsies  Not everyone lives in a city or a nice village. Shanty towns are a reminder that there are very poor people here, as in many developing countries.
 Men dressed for the weddingMore Children dressed up  People love to dress in their best clothes to get their pictures taken!
 Building a mud wall in YemenGriding grain the old fashioned way in Yemen


These men are constructing a mud house. The men on the right are mixing the mud with their feet. It is then passed to the man building the wall. He will place another layer of mud along the wall, shape it, and then let it dry for several weeks. (sometimes years). In this way, the houses grow slowly, but impressively. To see pictures of these mud houses visit the page on Sa'ada.

Right: These women are grinding grain on an old stone mill.

You can visit more of Yemen through the pages below


  A Caravansary

The Marib Dam

Sa'ada (City in the North)

 Yemeni Lifestyle
Who were the ancient Arab Sea Traders? Alexandria, the center of trade
Nabataeans in Italy Berenice Port on the Red Sea
Nabataeans in Africa Myos Hormos Port on the Red Sea
Africa: Juani Island Leuce Come Port on the Red Sea
Africa: Mafia Island Trade on the Arabian Sea
Africa: The Coast of Tanzania Trade on the Red Sea
Nabataeans in India Nabataeans in the Arab Gulf
The Kingdoms of South India Indian Pottery Found in Petra
Arab Ports of Call in India Trade on the Bay of Bengal
Nabataeans and Sri Lanka Ancient Trade Items
The Kingdom of Ruhuna Nabataeans in Turkey
Stone Anchors from Arabia in Sri Lanka Malacca in Asia
Southern Arabia Dong Song Kingdom in Vietnam
Southern Arabia Countryside African Pottery found in Nabataea
Southern Arabia A Caravansary Nabataean Trade Routes
Southern Arabia: The Marib Dam Nabataeans on Rhodes
Southern Arabia Sa'ada (City in the North) The Ancient Maritime Sea Route
Southern ArabiaYemeni Lifestyle A Proposed New Trade Route Directly East fromPetra
Nabataeans in Antartica? Elephants and the Nabataeans
Nabataeans in China Trade on the China Sea
The Spice Route Time Chart (China, India, Arabia, Europe)  Nabataea found in Chinese Texts
China: The Li-Kan Question  Chinese Maritime History
An overview of Chinese history The 'West' as mentioned in Chinese historical sources
Book Review; 1421 - The Year China Discovered the World header with menus