Amran Governorate [Archives:2004/755/Last Page]

July 15 2004

Ismail Al-Ghabiri
Amran is a recently formed governorate and it is considered to have significant potential for tourism. Geographically, Amran consists of several areas many of which are considered ancient and famous towns. Towns such as Ridah, with its still-standing castle on the peak of a mountain, Dhi Bain, known for its famous great mosques and historic sites and Hout, known since the early dissemination period of Islam for its schools and mosques that had served as educational institutes no less important than Zabid in Tihamah or Jiblah in Ibb.
Amran city is situated in the south-western tip of the Al-Boun valley, a three kilometer long valley whose width widens gradually towards the north east.
The old Amran City is surrounded by historical fences with 15 towers and two gates. The fences and gates of the city were last altered during the Islamic era although the lower level of the fences predates this construction.
The history of Amran can be traced back to the seventh century B.C. It is claimed that Amranians stood beside Sheba in its wars against Hamadans and Hamedeens. The temple “Dhi Maqah” in Amran was connected to other temples in Shibam and Marib. Through out its ancient history, Amran was under the influence of Sheban culture, as shown by writing scripts present on buildings in old city. The most prosperous period of its history was in 6th century A.D. when it was a trade and political center.
According to historic writers, the first orientalist to visit Amran was Tabeer, a merchant from Jerusalem, in 1879. And in 1883, Edward Halzer visited the city to examine the historic sites of the city. Several Europeans and Arab intellectuals have visited Amran, including Dr. Ahmed Fakhry in 1947 during the Imamic period. Anyone who visits Amran is able to witness ruins and sites of great civilisations that had flourished in this part of Yemen.

Thela City
Thela is one of the famous and historic cities in Yemen that played a vital role throughout the history of the Yemen, especially during wars against invaders such as the Ethiopians, Persians and Turks. Until recent times, the city included famous mosques and schools that served as educational centers. Thela fortress, at 3000 meters above sea level, overlooks Habah, Watar, Al-Mahweet, and Eyal Seraih. The fortress consists of storerooms, tunnels, swimming pools and a mosque. It is considered a tourist attraction during the winter. However, it lacks a restaurant and hotel suitable to host foreign tourists and visitors in the city. We hope that the related authorities will consider giving the city more attention to preserve the historical sites of the city.

Sheharah and its fortress
Sheharah region is one of the most important tourist regions in Yemen. Its history is not only connected to Amran but also to the whole country. Its history was closely connected to the struggle of the Yemenis against the consecutive Ottoman invasions as a result of the strong fortress used to defend for the city. The city is very famous also for its bridge that was built in 322 (Hijri calendar), standing at a height of 13 meters. It overlooks agricultural valleys. Many tourists usually visit this part of the country during the winter season.
Amran governorate includes tens of villages such as Khamees Gahal,Al-Madhyoub, Al-Gaflah, Bait Awadh, and Masar, Al-Habah, Bait Hameed, Al-Hazah, Kuhlan, Al-Shmour and others. The population of the governorate is about 900,000 citizens, 60% of whom work in agriculture and raising animals. The remaining portion of the population works in commercial and handicraft activities.