Walking in the Clouds on Razih Mountains in Northwestern Yemen
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Walking in the Clouds on Razih Mountains in Northwestern Yemen

Şa'dah : Yemen | Nov 22, 2012 at 6:53 AM PST
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Razih mountain world - Governorate of Sa`adah Yemen

The Way of Man

A thousand feet off the ground, the haze lifted as we headed for Razih Mountain. The sandy areas gradually thinned out and there was just a darkish-gray jagged mountain.

From this attitude, the mountain took on a faint green tint, almost resembling the mold of a moonscape the brightly painted mud and brick houses of the lower valleys, the homes here changed into stone construction. A few villages clung precariously to the mountainside here and there.

Small villages and laboriously terraced hills were everywhere. Farming here is a perpetual contest between man and nature. The sun was still shining but black clouds threatened on the horizon as we stepped into cool, crisp air. The scene was wild and rugged as we entered another world from the cool air of the mountain. The air was colder still at the top of this beautiful mountain world.

Remote villages sat on the flank of the mountain like a large stone fortress.

In view were the old and the new – sometimes extremes of both, small farm plots, old forts and castles, new houses, new cars, donkeys turning up in narrow alleys at the picturesque fortress like a traditional home.

The edge of Razih Mountain ridge abruptly drops several thousand feet into wild canyons leading down through the coastal desert to the Red Sea. Green grass, wildflowers and a cool, clear brook all were spiced with the fresh smell of spring. A country lane wound its way up and down the slopes, past lush fields of wheat, barley, tomatoes, onions and alfalta. Peach and plum trees were in the pinkest bloom.

Razih farmers were tilting their fields, plowing and pulling weeds.

Every village had a different character – literally a different color – all beautiful and well cared for. People would come over and invite us in for coffee, and if we wished, a meal.

A Mountain Dreamland

Isolation and abundant rainfall make Razih located in Northwestern Sa`ada governorate, so distinctive. Terraced farming, craggy mountain peaks, tall trees and luxuriant coffee plantations – agriculture here requires little or no irrigation. It is assumed that most part of Razih Mountain receive at least 12 inches of rain annually.

Farming is laid out in broad terraces, some 200 to 300 feet wide, astride the hilly contours of land. Cereal crops, wheat, barley and millet dominate commercial agricultural product while fruits like apricots, figs, apples and pears are plentiful.

Future Development

Razih development bagan fairly recently. The whole area has changed and will continue change at an ever – increasing pace.

Change must be slow in order to ensure development for the better. Change that comes fast can be overwhelming, even frightening. The road – the Razih ring road - will improve the area's tourism potential.

Mountain world like Razih could be a showcase of self-sustainable tourism aimed at those seeking different experiences, conscious of the importance of social responsibility and environmental integrity and wishing to have experiences that give them new and different perspective.

This highland region supports a heavily concentrated population. Providing modern services to isolated communities under condition that project are both affordable and commercially viable remains an unsolved challenge.

The "bundled service" program, for example, offers another alternative. By enhancing electricity, service with telecomm and internet access, projects increase economic opportunities and communities productive capacity.

Meadows and wildflowers shrouded in mist, castles in the air, the smell of time and art of being – these are changing times.

ABOUT RAZIH MOUNTAIN RAGE

Location: In Northwestern Sa`ada governorate in Yemen.\

The Yemeni governorate Sa`adah lies in the north of Republic of Yemen. It is bordering on Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The administrative center of the governorate is the historic city of Sa`ada, 243 km north from Sana`a

Razih Mountains range is lies in Northwestern Sa`ada governorate. The range includes

Ghamir, Hurrum( on which is the Hurum fortress) rise 2800m above sea level and it is the highest mountain in Razih. To the west of Razih there are Al Nadheer, Al Qalah and Al Dhaiah Mountains.

Jibal Sahar, Al Sama on which is Al Sama fortress and it is paralleling Al- Sinnarah fortress to the west.

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Razih mountain range
Remote villages sat on the flank of the mountain like a large stone fortress. This highland region supports a heavily concentrated population. Isolation and abundant rainfall make Razih located in Northwestern Sa`ada governorate, so distinctive. Terraced farming, craggy mountain peaks, tall trees and luxuriant coffee plantations -; agriculture here requires little or no irrigation. It is assumed that most part of Razih Mountain receive at least 12 inches of rain annually.
Irena Knehtl is based in Sanā, Hadramaut, Yemen, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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