Articles/The rich heritage of Najran’s mud architecture

The rich heritage of Najran’s mud architecture

بيوت الطين في نجران تقف شامخة رغم مرور مئات السنين

09 FEB 2021

Source: Abeer Al-Amoudi

Each region of Saudi Arabia has its own distinctive built heritage. The Najran province is no exception, with mud houses and historical palaces scattered across its governorates. The region’s villages also serve as tangible evidence of its wonderful architectural history.

Urban heritage

The unique design of the old buildings that stand in the middle of picturesque nature and agricultural areas add to the already-beautiful landscape, especially when viewed from the banks of the Najran valley.

The province is home to many mud palaces and buildings that have been constructed so that they are different from each other. For example, some structures extend to seven floors; the ground floor is usually devoted to fodder and livestock, while the other has rooms for residential and cooking purposes.

Najran’s historical palaces

Some of Najran’s ancient mud buildings, called the Darb, date back 200 years. The region features many archaeological palatial buildings, including the Emirate, Al-An, Al-Sidran and Sa’adan palaces and Raum Castle.

These impregnable buildings are typically constructed from mud bricks on top of a mountain with high walls and a watchtower in each of their four corners.

Architectural methods

Stone, clay and wood were the most important materials used in the construction process of Najran’s old buildings. After the mud bricks completely dried out, they were affixed on top of each other until construction was completed.

Then the process of building the roof started with the trunks and fronds of palm and sidr trees joined together. Construction of the stairs followed as well as any remaining plastering using mud. Finally, the finishing touches were applied to decorate and protect the building from natural climatic factors.