Marib is really two cities. The old town was the Queen of Sheba's capital, according to legend, and remained the chief city of the region for nearly a millennium. More than 2,900 years after the Queen's reign ended, Marib has become an oil-boom town. Its highlight for most visitors remains the much-ruined old section, which is full of ancient temples and palaces. Ghosts of the past reside in the Mahram Bilqis (stone pillar ruins of the royal palace) and the Queen of Sheba's Temple of Bilqis (the Temple of the Moon, which is covered with carved figures, heads and Arabic script). Also in the area is the Arwa Temple (pillars in the sand, just south of Old Marib) and the Marib Dam (said to be built by the first King of Sheba and reputed to be the first man-made dam in the world); its ruins show the excellent irrigation system that sustained a large kingdom until excessive water pressure caused the dam to crumble 2,200 years ago. Transportation through the area is by four-wheel-drive vehicle. 75 mi/120 km east of Sana'a.

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