A traditional village at the crossroads of different styles of architecture
The old village of Dhahran Al-Janub is a wonderful testimony to old mud-brick traditional constructions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is located at the crossroads of three places known for its specific traditional buildings as it lays on the eastern edge of the Aseer Province just 15 kilometers away from both the Najran Province and the Republic of Yemen.
The road leading to Dhahran Al-Janub offer some of the rare viewpoints on the Republic of Yemen simply from the tarmac.
A traveler on his way to Dhahran Al-Janub will see on the road side of the modern city a curiosity present in few places in the Kingdom of Saudi, a replica of the Eiffel Tower whose peculiar shape appears to be popular in the country.
A similar one can be found on the Ha'il-Al-Ula highway.
The traditional village of Dhahran Al-Janub is located above 2160 meters on a plateau formed by the Sarawat mountains. It lays along a meander of the Wadi Kutam and is abandoned nowadays since the population moved to modern houses built along the road linking Abha to Najran.
Therefore, visitors have to take a side street to find the traditional houses hidden behind the modern buildings. Since the traditional village is no longer maintained there are unfortunately some old mud-brick houses which have been badly damaged by the weather or that have even collapsed. Visitors have to pay attention to the risk that buildings about to fall down represents.
But most of the old city is still standing and hasn't lost anything of its charm with its traditional architecture and crafts of the artesans of Dhahran Al-Janub.
Along the old street there are still panels with names inscribed and an enchantment of a bygone era, and although the village is no longer inhabited visitors can still feel the life that enlivened these streets not so long ago.
The doors of some houses are still open so it is possible to enter and climb the stairs to enjoy the wonderful viewpoints from the roofs, but bear in mind the two following points: although these houses are abandoned they still belong to families that probably live in the modern village, and as buildings are not maintained, any visit to them is at a visitor's own risk.
A traditional village at the crossroads of different styles of architectures (author: Florent Egal)