LAHAJ: A History filled with Arabian jasmines fragrance [Archives:2005/890/Last Page]

October 31 2005

Compiled by Yasser AL-Mayasi
Yemen Times Staff
Eshraq AL-Bodigi
For Yemen Times

Lahaj governorate is located at the southwest region of the Republic of Yemen, at latitude of 14.12 north, and a longitude of 46.43 east. Lahaj is surrounded by Aden governorate from the south, Taiz and AL-Dhala'e governorates from the north, Abyan governorat from the east, Taiz and the Red sea from the west, AL- Beidha governorate from the northeast, and Aden Gulf from the southwest.

The landscape of Lahaj varies from high mountains reaching 2500 meters above sea level as a part of AS-Sarat mountainous range, to fertile valleys, such as Wadi Tuban, which is one of the most fertile valleys in Yemen, and to plain areas stretching as far as the fishing ports at Ra's Omayrah. Al-A'ra and Suqia, which is located to the east of Bab Al-Mandeb strait.

The center of Lahaj governorate is Al-Houta city, which used to be the capital of Abadel Sultanate. It is considered one of the important historical Yemeni cities; it is 30 km to the north of Aden, located in a fertile valley historically known as Wadi Tuban with a semi-tropical climate.

Vast orchards grow various kinds of fruit such as lemon, banana, and mango as well as fiber cotton arrays orchards scented with the lovely scents of blossoms and flowers. Such orchards are frequented as parks by the natives of Lahaj and Aden. Sultan Abadel Palace is considered the most prominent architectural landmark of Houta city.

Al-Houta city's fame draws not only from its green orchards but also from the importance of its poetry and poets or songwriters. Since many ancient periods, Al-Houta was known as a homeland of the poetry, poets, and singing. Lahaj is also famous for musical tradition, which constitutes a distinct artistic style known as Lahaji Lyrical style.

Al-Qumandan (a famous songwriter) music festival is held once every three years. There are many archaeological and tourist sites in Lahaj. Among them are ancient settlement recently discovered at “Wahat” area Lahaj Valley.

Archaeological and Tourist Sites in Lahaj:

Beside all previous features, Lahaj is distinguished by its unique archeological landmarks, which has special attractive tourism features. Lahaj is an area that gathered between the beauty and secrets of nature and archeological landmarks.

– Yafie:

This is a mostly mountainous area famous for growing Yafie coffee, which is among the best coffee in Yemen. The houses in Yafie villages are built with stone, which are lofty. The area is well known for a classical style of singing called “Yafie lyrical style”. At the center of Yafie, Al-Nour Mosque still stands which built by Imam Ahmed Bin Al-Hasan Bin Al-Qasim in the 17th century AD.

– Radfan Mountains:

A highly defensible mountain range, they gained renown as a starting point and stronghold for the resistance movement against the British colonization in the mid 20th century, a museum in the area is dedicated to the previous resistance periods.

– Telie Mountain:

It is deemed as the only landmark in the province, which dates back to the old stony period of the Arabia peninsula. From a distance of four hundred kilo meters and on the hilltop, there are a number of ancient stony tools and handmade hacks, which spread over the hill and made since 200-500 thousands years.

– Darr AL_Araays:

This residence is very old and dates bake to the mid first century B.C.; it is built of large stones, which has long diameter more than two meters and height of two meters too. Darr AL-Araays is from the Shebaen civilization and deemed one of the more old archeological landmarks in Yemen. There is another palace from the Shabaen period too in Al-Anadd zone.

– Naob AL_Qeilie:

This is another kind of archeological landmarks, which consists a group of small forts in Yafie. It stands up over the mountain chain and extends through one to another fort until reaches the north areas that are near Yafie. This type of forts used for protection and sending messages from zone to zone, the system dates back approximately the 16th century.