Over 3,000 years ago, in the “Southern Arabian wonderland”, one of the first advanced civilizations in the world grew up between the sea and sand: the kingdom of Sheba. The Sabeans, who were to become a great trading nation, grew incredibly rich and their buildings were immense. Today the alabaster palaces have foundered, the old caravan routes have disappeared beneath the sand and the country is poor. But that doesn’t mean that graceful buildings haven’t been erected since. The palace on display here perches impressively atop a 60 m high cliff near the capital of Sanaa. It was boldly built in traditional style in the 1930s, served as a summer residence for the last imam and has become a major attraction for the growing tourist trade in recent years.
Weight with cliff: 3.8 t
Materials: sandstone, reinforced concrete, cast concrete, brass, copper, coloured glass
No. of stone bricks: 4,500
Time taken: 4,200 hours
Model makers: MINIMUNDUS (1992) workshop