This weekend is dedicated to Yemen.

It is a country known to be the birthplace of many things great and small.

Myrrh, amongst them is a resinous gum that was harvested on the trunk of certain trees from which it oozes out naturally.  This liquid gum hardens in the air to form red brown concretions that can sometimes reach a blob of 200 grams.

It was transported from the country’s mountainous sites by camel caravans of Nabatea through the coastal deserts of Arabia to Petra in today’s Jordan, from which it was redistributed to all countries of the Mediterranean basin.

Sanaa

Sanaa

Sanaa  old quarters

Sanaa old quarters

 

Traditional habitations

Traditional habitations

Manakhah

Manakhah

Trees on a hill

Trees on a hill

Frankincense Tree

Frankincense Tree

Boswellia Flowers

Boswellia Flowers

 

This trade declined with the arrival of Christianity; even if “the use of incense was accepted in the Catholic Church, the early Christian Church from the time of the Roman Empire had banned its use.

The strong demand, the difficulty of increasing production as well as the constraints linked to its transport made myrrh a particularly expensive product that was trading at the same price, by weight, to gold.