The architectural heritage of Najran
With such a long history it is not surprising that Najran Province has a rich heritage. The most visible one being obviously its traditional architecture which is a brilliant example of the Yemeni style. Roaming along the old streets of a Najran traditional village like Abu As-Su'ud is a delightful experience that brings back in time. One can feel there the ancient Arabian life style of people living in this place just few decades ago and that is still proudly kept vivid by the people of modern Najran.
As you get closer to one of those charming Najran traditional villages, the first striking aspect is the fact that the mud-bricks buildings are made up of several stories, sometimes over six, and are quite often higher than large.
The ground floor was used to store food and other items and can be without windows, while the first floor is dedicated to human habitation. As you go up from floor to floor, the windows get larger to let in more light and air.
Often these houses are clustered together around a central courtyard, creating a common space dedicated to the social life of the family members.
Another aesthetic feature of Najran traditional houses is the elegant crenellations on top of walls that gives to the silhouette of these rectangular buildings a sensation of lightness.
The white painting is another typical decoration that decorate crenellations, surrounding windows, or even sometimes covering the whole building.
These traditional buildings are still seen in many towns and villages, with some buildings well maintained (or restored) while others are deteriorating. Fortunately, there seems to be considerable interest by some Najran residents to preserve their traditional homes.
The architectural heritage of Najran (author: Florent Egal)