Historical Wall and Gates of Aden [Archives:2000/36/Last Page]

September 4 2000

It is no doubt that the construction of Aden’ wall coincided with the development of the political and trade importance of Aden city. At a time Aden controlled imports and exports through its historical seaport, the wall played a significant role in defending the city throughout various historical epochs.
Many stories have been written on Aden’s gate, however, no enough details are found in those writings. In “Taqweem Al-Boldan” Abo Al-Fida mentioned that Aden city had been surrounded with walls since the Islamic period, particularly the Bani Zorai period. The book mentioned that Aden was fenced by fortresses on mountains and the only approach to it was fenced.
Construction of Aden’s Wall and Gates
Aden was under the control of Solaiheyeen when they took power in 1059. In 1077 it was made their capital. Many walls and fortresses were built to protect it against possible invaders.
During the Ayobeen rule in 1176, it was converted into a trade center. During the same period all collapsed fortresses and castles were rebuilt. In addition, the whole land was walled beginning from Al-Khadhra’a Fortress to Attaakar. Another wall was built along the coast to Haqqat mountain. Such walls contained a number of well-known gates. Those gates were Al-Sabbaghah, Hawmah, Assailah – through which floods water runs, Al-Fardhah – presently Aden’s gate, Bab Moshref – also known as Assahel gate and, Bab Haif which was also called Asser (secret) which was opened only in emergencies.
Some historians say that those walls and fortresses were rehabilitated once again during the regime of Rasolians 1232-1455. Besides, they constructed a number of mosques.
Aden’s Gate
It is the only approach to Aden and the most famous one through the city’s history. Being engraved in mountain it has been described by some historians as unique that had no similar ones in Yemen. Aden’s gate has also been known with many names such as Bab Al-Bar, Bab Aden and Bab Al-Aqabah. During the British colonization it used to be called the Main Entrance.
Changes to Aden’s Gate
Many changes happened to Aden’s gate, specially during the British colonization. The door that used to open and close was removed and a tower was built near the place. Two cannons were placed on Djabal Hadeed as well. In addition, a zigzag road was constructed on Attaakar mountain. The bridge on the main entrance was destroyed in the 1960s during the expansion of the entrance.
Aden visitors will not fail to see some traces of the gate beside a number of fortresses on Djabal Hadeed, Al-Akhdhar and Haqqat mountains.