Al-HODEIDAH: Bride of the Red Sea [Archives:2005/880/Last Page]

September 26 2005


Al-Hodeidah is the most famous harbor of Yemen in the Red Sea and a widely known fishing region throughout the history of mankind. It was used during the 15th century as a ship-fleet depot after it expanded from a small village to a local port. Later, one of the Sultans defeated the Portuguese, and made the port free of their control. In 1961, the port was re-constructed according to modern standards.

The important sites of the province are:


Situated 60 km from Al-Hodeidah on Taiz-Hodeidah road, this was during the seventeenth and eighteenth century the storage station of the coffee crop, which used to be exported from Al-Mokha harbor. During those periods, the town prospered through expansion of its dwellings and variations of its activities. Christine Yanbour, a famous foreign explorer in 1763 A.D. described it by writing, “It was the biggest commercial market in the world for coffee”. He saw numerous businessmen of Europe in it, together with, others from Persia, Turkey, Morocco, India and other countries, undertaking commercial transactions. It is distinctive in its buildings as it is constructed out of plain red bricks.

Its people are known to wear short skirts known locally “Al-Lahaf”, which are the male costumes of the inhabitants living in all coastal regions of the two Asian and African continents.


It is an important town that once played a big role in the political and educational history of Yemen, situated south of the province about 100 km far away. It is only 18 km of a distance from the nearest coast of the Red Sea. The name of the town originated from Wadi Zabid, which crosses the whole town and when in flood, flows across the city and into the Red Sea. Its architecture is a distinctive product of Al-Zaydiah State's rulers, who re-constructed the town during the ninth century.

The town originally was fenced all around with a wall of four main gates. This wall is still in good condition, while the gates are partially kept within their former pattern for the last two hundred years.

The town of Zabid is one of the most famous religious and scientific centers, not only of Yemen, but also all over the Islamic world. It is known to be the center of education and scholars and still a city renowned for its Islamic schools and universities, which go back as far as 802 AC.

Zabid was a center for the weaving, dyeing and tanning industries, famous for textiles manufacturing, and used to have more than 300 dyeing industries of which only a few remain and on a very small scale.

Other known historical structures of the town are the “Ashari Mosque” namely related to Abu Moosa Al-Ashari, one of prophet Mohammed's companions, the Medina Souq, and Zabid tourist castle.


It is 120 km to the west of the capital and 135 km away from Hodeidah; it is the center of Haraz region with the 3000 m high mountain, Djabel Shibam. Manakha itself is situated between these mountains and it was an important straight for the Ottoman Empire. In Manakha, architecture and landscape are in harmony; it has a fascinating architectural style and old souq (market).


It is situated southwest of Al-Hodeidah on the Taiz road, and is 28 km away of the coast. It used to be the commercial spot of coffee at the time of Al-Mokha port's prosperity. The same pattern and architectural style of Zabid also constructed it. It was also famous for industrial manufacturing of clay pots and kitchenwares.


Al-Khukha is a fishermen's village, which boasts one of the most beautiful tourist beaches on the Red Sea, decorated by palm groves.

Even more interesting in Al-Khukha is the fact that wherever you dig a hole in the sand, you will find fresh water.

There is a tourist village in the area and many tourists prefer to stay in Al-Khukha for one or two nights. Sleeping outside under the palm trees with the stars as your roof definitely is an experience.


It is a mineral swimming bath that was used once by Imam Ahmed, the last pre-republic ruler, as his personal resort.

He also built his own palace around this resort. During winter seasons, the inhabitants now come to this bath for curing their skin illnesses.

Souq Al-Khamis:

About 40 km to the northeast of Al-Luhayya and a couple of km off the main road is a small village that seems completely desolate for most of the week. The name of the village, Souq Al-Khamis, literally means “Thursday Market”, a market place with very few permanent dwellers. It serves the people of Hajour, Al-Sharafayn and Hajjah.On Thursday mornings the village swarms with hundreds of traders and their customers.