Monday, January 30, 2012

Taif: a photo album, part 3 (there are a lot of parts to this album)

After we saw the Turkish fort, we headed toward an old dam. On the way we saw 2 mosques, this being the first of them. This one was built by a former slave of the Prophet Mohammed named Bilal Ibn Ribah. At least, that's what our tour guide told us. Apparently this was the minaret from which Ribah used to give the athan. He was the first man to give the athan, being instructed to do so by the Prophet.

We went into the minaret.

Looking at this photo now, it looks like these are bullet holes, but I don't think that's the case. I didn't ask our tour guide because I didn't really notice them at the time. I just thought it was normal wear and tear. It probably was.

Dang, I am informative today!

There it is. Just hanging out on the side of the road. All that protects this historically significant site is a chain link fence.

Next we went to a mosque that was built on the site where the angel Gabriel (Gibreel in Arabic) appeared to the Prophet Mohammed, who was basically being attacked by the locals he was trying to convert to Islam. They didn't appreciate his efforts, so they were throwing rocks at him. Gabriel appeared and told the Prophet, and I'm paraphrasing, "I can destroy these people, if they're bothering you." And the Prophet said (again, paraphrasing), "Nah, that's ok. I'll show them mercy because I want them to see the truth."

So anyway, this picture shows the spot where one of the rocks that was being thrown at Mohammed is placed. According to our tour guide, this rock has the imprint of the Prophet's hands (although another local claimed it was his elbow) from where he caught it..or something like that. The story got a big muddled.

Anyway, the Saudis have since covered that rock with concrete because they didn't want it to become a pilgrimage site.

This is what that mosque looked like. I'm a horrible blogger because I did not write down the name of this mosque and have now forgotten it.


I didn't go in, but this is what it looked like inside.

After that we continued on to the dam. At one point, the government built a roadway over this dam so people could cross over it, but then the shabab began using the bridge as a hangout spot and vandalizing it. So the government built a gated fence around the dam and only someone like Dawi, who knows the guard, can get inside the fence.

Unfortunately, the guard wasn't there or something, so we just had to snap photos as best we could from the outside of the fence. 

Basically when I asked what the deal was with this dam, Dawi said, "It's an old dam."

I apologize, readers. I didn't get the details on this old dam. I don't know who built it, I don't know how old it is, I don't know the name of the "river" it is damming. I fail.

Next we went back toward the Taif town center and saw a couple really beautiful houses. This house is called the Katib house because the man who used to live here wrote the first agreement that brought unification between the tribes of Saudi Arabia (thus creating the country we know today). He was basically the contract guy. Dawi said that, essentially,  if you needed any legal documents written up, he was the guy to see. (Katib mean "author" or "writer" in Arabic)

The house was soo colorful and pretty! It was locked up, so we couldn't poke around inside. What an unfortunate waste!! This would be such a cool historical site if it were preserved and open to the public!

Then we went down the street to the Gazzaz house. The Gazzaz family owns perfume and jewelry stores all around the country, but they originated in Taif (land of the roses that are used in many perfumes today). This was their palatial family home. It currently lies abandoned, gutted by a fire several years ago. This house was astoundingly beautiful! Again, what a colossal cultural loss! This house could be a beautiful venue for wedding receptions or business meetings if it were restored. Or it could be a very posh hotel. Such a waste.

We got to poke around a bit because so many of the windows and doors were non existent after the fire. This was the back veranda.

Wouldn't this make a beautiful lobby or dining hall?

The back facade reminded us of something out of Gone With the Wind. It looked like an old plantation house after the Civil War. Echos of its luxurious past were whispering through the scorch marks and creeping vines.

Vicariously yours,

1 comment:

  1. Good Day, you are so great because you reach taif, anyway, i will like to inform you that bilal ibn rabah(r.a) is not a slave of Prophet (s.a.w) but he is a companion of Prophet s.a.w

    thank you: