The climate is
moderate ranging from 12oC
leaving no month without rain and an east wind that carries dust
from the desert. Centuries of living in these conditions gave
birth to stone homes in the hills and mud homes in the valleys.
The mud (clay) walls, about 50cm (20 inches) thick, rest on a stone layer.
They are built upwards in stages allowing each layer to dry, each
capped with protruding stone slabs. The clay walls slope inwards
and reduce in thickness as they get higher. This reduces the
materials and the pressure of the lower walls. The
clay walls rise higher at the corners mimicking the architecture
of the stone buildings, but the most striking feature are the
slates protruding from the walls which cascade the rain away from
the vulnerable clay. For more detail download the notes on the
Vernacular Architecture of the Asir.
the homes of Asir so special are the colourful decorations that are spread
throughout the house, inside and out (see below left). Men are
responsible for building the houses while women take the task of
decorating. Frescoes are not seen as works of art but as
a reflection of the skills of the women who express their public personality in a masculine culture that
requires them to withdraw from the public eye.