Perched atop a rock pinnacle at the famous Wadi Dhahr Valley, near the capital city of Sana, Yemen, is Dar al-Hajar, better known as the Imam’s Rock Palace. It is an iconic symbol of Yemen, whose picture can be found on postcards, magazines, bills, water bottles and on and on. What makes the building stand out so much is its exemplary Yemeni architecture which seems to grow out of the rocks on which it was constructed.
Back in the day, Yemen didn’t have a king or a president. Instead, leadership of the country rested on the shoulders of an Imam (Islamic spiritual leader). Yahya Muhammad Hamiddin (1869-1948) became Imam of the Zaydis after his father’s death in 1904, then Imam of Yemen in 1918 and remained in that post until his assassination in 1948. The five-story building has lots of rooms and many sets of stairs that seem to take you around in circles. The palace was restored for visitors recently and now serves as a popular museum.