Culture of Yemen: Architecture

Culture of Yemen: Architecture Last updated on Monday 26th April 2010

Yemeni houses are built using local materials and always blend harmoniously with their natural setting. Reeds, mud and brick are used in the valleys and the plains, while stone-building is common in mountainous dwelling areas. Decorations on the house facades tend to vary from region to region.

The tower is the most popular type of architecture in the highlands; the tower is made of stone or brick and it usually reaches a height of 4-6 storeys to accommodate an extended family.

The ground floor of a tower house is used for storage and housing domestic animals. The first floor rooms store household items and the second floor usually contains a reception room for guests. Bedrooms and the kitchen are located on the top two or three floors, with the kitchen usually being equipped with a well, which passes through the lower storeys and into the ground. The top floor contains a large room called the mafrai, where the owner of the house meets his friends in the afternoons, to talk and chew qat.

In the Tihamah region, the dwellings are low. Houses in the countryside are usually one-roomed huts built of reeds, with a sharply pointed roof. Town houses in this region are of one or two storeys and are built of brick, often with intricate decorations on the outer walls.

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