When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra


The district of Ḥaṣweyn is centered on Jabal Fartak and the mountainous ridge that extends inland from the sea. The populated portions of this district lay on the coastal plain to the west of Jabal Fartak and include the fishing villages of Khayṣīt, Ḥaṣweyn, and Ṣaḳr. Like the mountains of Ḥawf, Jabal Fartak catches monsoonal precipitation during the autumn months. However, the effects of this moisture can be seen only in the highest valleys and hidden hollows of Jabal Fartak (Karmaym Ḥawrōt and Reddīt). This district includes the traditional territories of the Qumayrī, Kalšāt, and Slōyem (Sulaymī) tribes. The majority of the male population of Ḥaṣweyn are fishermen. Before the opening of the tunnel under Jabal Fartak linking Qishn to al-Ghaydha, Khayṣit was the western departure point for skiffs shuttling people around the mountains to Niśṭawn. Whereas Niśṭawn was a developed port by Mahri standards, Khayṣīt remained a small fishing village of extraordinary beauty nestled at the foot of the dramatic cliffs of Jabal Fartak and at the head of a small, sandy bay with crystal clear, blue water teeming with shoals of tropical fish.   

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