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Ma'rib (Yemen)
Red pog.svg
Coordinates 15 ° 25 ′  N , 45 ° 20 ′  E Coordinates: 15 ° 25 ′  N , 45 ° 20 ′  E
Basic data
Country Yemen


Residents 20,821 (calculation 2012)
The largely abandoned old part of the city of Ma'rib

Ma'rib ( Arabic مأرب, DMG Maʾrib , locally Mārib ; Old Arabic Maryab ; Greek Μαρίαβα / Mariaba; Latin Mariba ) was the capital of the empire of Saba from the 8th century BC in ancient times . It is located about 100 km east of Sanaa in Yemen . Today's Ma'rib has about 21,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the Ma'rib Governorate .


The ancient city was on a plain in the dry delta of Wadi Adhana , at an altitude of about 1200  m .

After in Ma'rib since the 3rd millennium BC A fortified settlement existed in the 4th century BC, the place experienced a strong boom with the establishment of the Frankincense Route . As the most important economic center, Ma'rib therefore dissolved in the 8th century BC. Chr. Sirwah as the capital of Sheba. Ma'rib had an acropolis on which the palaces and temples of the rulers were located, while the actual city was surrounded by a 4.2 km long city wall. There were several temples for the main god Almaqah (moon god), the most important of which was the Awwam temple .

In Ma'rib, up to 50,000 people are said to have lived on a walled city area of 110 hectares , making Ma'rib the largest city in ancient southern Arabia. The basis for this large population was the flourishing agriculture, which was made possible by the dam of Ma'rib . The thus artificially irrigated area was about 9600 hectares. In the year 24 BC The Romans under Aelius Gallus besieged the city in vain. This advance is mentioned in the Res gestae divi Augusti of the Roman emperor Augustus under number 26.

The decline of Ma'rib finally began with the decline in trade on the Frankincense Route after the Ptolemies and Romans had opened up the sea route through the Red Sea and were thus able to bypass the high tariffs and taxes by land. After several dam breaks had occurred since the 4th century and Ma'rib also lost its capital status after the conquest by the Himyars , the city was abandoned after another dam break in 572.

In modern times, the legendary Ma'rib was the destination of several research trips. The Frenchman Joseph Arnaud was the first to reach the ruined city in 1843. Archaeological exploration of the city was not possible for a long time because of the negative attitude of the tribes. The first excavations took place in 1952 under Wendell Phillips , but soon had to be stopped again. Since Ma'rib has been accessible to tourists and researchers again since 1975, German excavations are currently taking place there.


Marib is one of five cities in Yemen on the preliminary World Heritage - Tentative . The focus is on the archaeological-historical old Marib.

On the occasion of the military intervention in Yemen in 2015 , UNESCO Director General, Irina Georgieva Bokova , condemned the air strikes on the ancient city of Ma'rib and the Ma'rib Dam by a Saudi- led military alliance supported by the United States and Great Britain . The Ma'rib Dam, known as the "miracle of engineering" and "one of the greatest technical wonders of the ancient world", was damaged in an air raid on the night of May 31, 2015, according to local news reports and archaeological experts.

See also


  • Andrey Korotayev : Pre-Islamic Yemen . Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden 1996, ISBN 3-447-03679-6 .
  • Jürgen Schmidt (Hrsg.): Ancient technology. The Sabaean water management of Marib . von Zabern, Mainz 1995 (Archaeological Reports from Yemen, Vol. 7). ISBN 3-8053-1488-4
  • Wendell Phillips: Kataba + Saba: Discovery of the lost kingdoms on the biblical spice routes of Arabia . S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1958.

Web links

Commons : Ma'rib  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. World Gezatteer Population Data 2012 ( Memento of the original from December 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. a b UNESCO Director-General condemns airstrikes on Yemen's cultural heritage ( Memento from June 6, 2015 on WebCite ) (English)., June 2, 2015, archived from the original on June 6, 2015.
  3. Saudi-led naval blockade leaves 20m Yemenis facing humanitarian disaster ( Memento from June 5, 2015 on WebCite ) (English). The Guardian, June 5, 2015, by Julian Borger, archived from the original on June 5, 2015.
  4. 'Engineering Marvel' of Queen of Sheba's City Damaged in Airstrike ( Memento of 5 June 2015 Webcite ) (English)., June 3, 2015, by Kristin Romey, archived from the original on June 6, 2015.
  5. Marib Dam attacked and badly damaged