The spectacular palace that 'grows' out of a lofty rock column

Pictured: The spectacular five-storey palace set in an other-worldly valley that ‘grows’ out of a lofty rock column

  • Dar al-Hajar palace was the summer residence of the former Yemen monarch Yahya Muhammad Hamiddin
  • It was built in the 1920s on top of a pre-existing stone structure believed to date back to the 1700s 
  • The palace remained in the ownership of the Yemeni royal family until 1962 and is now a museum 

Part palace, part rock column – behold one of the world’s most spectacular constructions.

Yemen’s Dar al-Hajar – or ‘stone house’ – is a former royal residence that seems to grow out of the rock pinnacle upon which it’s perched.

As these pictures show, the five-storey building looks incredible from every angle. No wonder it appears on a Yemeni banknote (the 500 rials one).

This amazing picture of Dar al-Hajar was taken by Rod Waddington and uploaded to his Flickr account. He describes Yemen as ‘one of the most beautiful countries’. Published here courtesy of creative commons licensing

Jaw-dropping: Dar al-Hajar – or ‘stone house’ –  looks incredible from every angle

The setting is also mesmerising.

The palace sits around nine miles from the capital, Sana’a, in the other-worldly Wadi Dhahr Valley.

Dar al-Hajar dates back to the 1920s, constructed as a summer residence for Islamic spiritual leader and Yemeni monarch Yahya Muhammad Hamiddin.

The palace sits around nine miles from the capital, Sana’a, in the other-worldly Wadi Dhahr Valley 


Pictured on the left is one of the staircases inside the palace. The building is easy on the eye, but built to withstand attacks

But it was erected on top of a structure built on the rock column in 1786 by Islamic scholar Imam Mansour Ali Bin Mehdi Abbas.

Inside there are multiple guest rooms, kitchens, storage areas and tranquil courtyards.

It’s certainly easy on the eye, though designed to withstand attack.

Dar al-Hajar was erected on top of a structure built on a rock spire in 1786 by Islamic scholar Imam Mansour Ali Bin Mehdi Abbas

This breathtaking image of the stone house palace was taken by Flickr user ‘Dan’ and published here courtesy of creative commons licensing

Dar al-Hajar dates back to the 1920s, constructed as a summer residence for Islamic spiritual leader and Yemeni monarch Yahya Muhammad Hamiddin. This image shows a view from the palace

The palace contains multiple guest rooms, kitchens, storage areas and tranquil courtyards

In the end, Imam Yahya didn’t have much time to enjoy life at Dar al-Hajar as his grandson assassinated him during a coup in Yemen in 1948 

One of many amazing views from the palace

According to thevintagenews.com it’s ‘built like a fortress, with shooting emplacements to defend the place from attackers… and its own water supply from deep below the rock’, meaning it could ‘easily have withstood a siege’. 

In the end, Imam Yahya didn’t have much time to enjoy life at Dar al-Hajar as his grandson assassinated him during a coup in Yemen in 1948.

But the palace did remain in the ownership of the Yemeni royal family until the country’s 1962 revolution.

Now it’s a museum, with visitors able to tour the rooms and explore the labyrinth of staircases.

Tourists who have paid a visit to the palace have sung its praises on Tripadvisor.

One user, 63jonesthecat, said: ‘Fantastic place. I went to Yemen for a month and it is one of the best things I have seen in my life.’

Another, Dr.abdulqawi, added: ‘It’s a wonderful experience to see this old Yemeni palace and understand more about the local life and culture.’

While deasb wrote: ‘It is nothing like you have ever seen before. Must visit. And the view is exquisite.’

Unfortunately, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Yemen. 

But that doesn’t stop us admiring its treasures from afar. 

For more, watch this Unesco YouTube video, which takes viewers on a through-the-keyhole exploration of Dar al-Hajar. 

Tourists who have paid a visit to the palace have sung its praises on Tripadvisor 

One visitor said that the palace is a ‘must visit’ and that the ‘view is exquisite’ 

The palace remained in the ownership of the Yemeni royal family until the country’s 1962 revolution

One Tripadvisor user said that the palace is ‘like nothing you’ve ever seen’ 

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