More Cultural Sites from Hodeidah: Beit Al-faqeeh [Archives:1999/38/Culture]

September 20 1999

Saleh Abdulbaqi
Cultural Editor

As we read the history of Yemen, we find lots of historical features which still exist in some of the country’s cities. Beit Al-Faqeeh is one of the cities that formed a wide extension for tradition and civilization in Yemen. It was known by this name since 650 Hijra. Before this date, it was known by “Katheb Shawkah”. The first one who resided in this town was Al-Fakeh Ahmed Bin Aujail. He said that he lived before in a village which was called “Al-Shawka”, where his grandfather lived until his death.
Al-Allama Abdulrahman Ahmed Al-Moshraqi, has mentioned that ‘Katheb Shawkah’ is the dwelling and grave for Ahmed Mosa Bin Aujail, who put the first planning of this town in 650 Hijra. The trading caravans were passing through this town to take long provisions of water and food.
Beit Al-Faqeeh is one of the high scientific houses in Tehama. So, Beit Al-Faqeeh and Zabeed are the famous towns which are known by their jurisprudence. It is located in the middle part of Al-Zaraniq area. It is 60Km. far from the Southeast of Hodeidah. It has a good atmosphere. It links Hodeidah with Dhamar, through a sandy road. Mr. Torkiel Hanz ,who came to Yemen in 1762, said that it is located on the middle of Tehama cost, the trade center. He said that the mission had chose it because it occupied a strategic location.
This town is one of the big towns in Hodeidah. It is bounded in the West by the Red Sea, in the East by Raimah Mountains, in the South by Zabeed and in the North by Al-Mansouria and Al-Sakhna. Beit Al-Fakeh is still the cultural and economical capital for Al-Zaraniq area.
Beit Al-Faqeeh Castle
Yemen has giant archaeological marks. The ancient Yemeni people had achieved those archeological places to prove the originality of Yemeni civilization through history. Thereupon, I have to talk about one of these giant marks. It is Beit Al-Faqeeh castle. This castle is located on the east side, Beit Al-Faqeeh, the ancient trade center. It reminds us in the battles which took place between Othmani conquests and Al-Zaraniq tribes. That castle was founded by Al-Othmaneen who conquered Tehama coast. At that period it was called “Othmani castle”. But it was repaired in the period of Imam Ahmed Bin Hameid’udeen, when he won the battle with Al-Zaraniq and conquered it in 1929. The grave of Al-Sheikh Ahmed Bin Ageel ,who founded that town, was put near the castle.
This castle has a wonderful view. From inside, it contains small beautiful adorations. Kamarias and the other drawings which surrounded it form an exciting view. The other side of the castle contains a number of rooms and halls. The second floor contains stores for weapons and wheat. This castle also has a mosque and a well, and so many other security rooms, which are located upon the main gate.
Therefore, the castle occupied a strategic location in the area. You can see the whole town through the windows of the castle. There is a field gun in the corner of the castle, where we find its muzzle directed towards the town. As we look to these pictures, we really feel our ancient and civil history. The tourism sector must preserve our tradition. That must be through repairing those archaeological marks, and give them the biggest importance, because they reflect the history and civilization of Yemen. They will help attract tourists. By doing this, our country will get a good financial and economical income. We must prove to the world that Yemen is the cradle of the ancient Arab civilizations. The government should encourage the national industries. Indeed, this will help reducing imports. This is represented by finding a modern technical mechanism of administrating the national investment.
Such great ancient sites should always be taken care of by the government. They are places that reflect our rich history and culture, and promoting them in all possible ways is a must, for them to further be known by the rest of the world.