DHAMAR – ذمار
The city of Dhamar is the administrative center and capital of the governorate.
As Dhamar city had a great role in the politic and trading life in Yemen. It had a very important historical role in Yemen before the Islamic age. The antique Yemeni engravings mentioned Dhamar city as being a very famous center of the Islamic studies and sciences, and many of the great scientists are attributed to this historical town.
The town is still famous in Yemen for its numerous historical mosques and schools, which are distinguished by their beautiful characteristic architecture in harmony with the colors of its volcano land.
The main attractions are The Grand Mosque, Al-Shamsiah School and Hirran fortress.
Dhamar Grand Mosque is considered one of the oldest mosques in Yemen after Sanaa Grand Mosque. Dhamar’s Grand Mosque still remains in a good condition. The cohesive building pattern and the use of strong stones helped in keeping the mosque in its present state. The Islamic decorative artistic elements are still in their ancient condition without deformation. There is in the mosque a rare wooden pulpit in a good condition and is considered one of the masterpieces of Islamic wood carving art. The wall of the minaret’s foundation is built by old stones bearing inscriptions in al-Masnad calligraphy which were carried from ancient ruins.
Al-Shamsiah School is considered one of the most important Islamic vestiges which are still frequented. It is located in Al-Jarajish Quarter and was built by Al-Imam al-Mutawakell Yehya Sharaf el-Din Ben al-Mahdi Ahmad, who ruled during the period 912-965 H / 1506-1557 A.D. Students of sciences used to visit it each year coming from the various regions in addition to the students of the city itself and from its neighborhoods. Science students coming to Dhamar were known as immigrants and lived in rooms annexed to al-Shamsiah School. Some of these houses were known by the names of families which inherited residence rights in them. Most students lived supported by the city’s notables. Despite the coarse living standards these students acquired a great amount of knowledge. A great number of scientists that are difficult to enumerate studied in this school since its establishment.
Al-Shamsiah School still exists and is in a good condition as well as the annexes attached to it.
Hirran fortress is located to the north of Dhamar City at a distance of 2 kms. This fortress still functions. It is built on a volcanic mountain where were established inhabited villages and elevated palaces of the Himyari era.
Hirran Fortress is considered one of the three important fortresses surrounding the city of Dhamar beside Yafa’ fortress to the west and Bab al-Ghilal fortress to the east. Archaeological evidences scattered at the surface of the site witness that the fortress was inhabited during various time periods dating back to the pre-historic age, pre-Islamic age and to the consecutive periods of the Islamic civilization.