Tourists are welcome, but bring your own water [Archives:2002/09/Culture]

February 25 2002


Farook al-Kamali
YT Staff
It has a rich past and a promising future. But unless the historic city of Lahj can be supplied with hotel and tourism services, it appears it will remain a tourism secret, and, as some people now believe, just a spot for people to stay briefly on their way to Aden City.
The city, its beautiful beaches and its potential for tourism remains completely ignored.
It seems Yemeni tourism bodies have forgotten that they have a city called Lahj and that it has such a rich heritage.
The city, in fact, lacks services such as, electricity, pure water and paved roads. There is negligence along its beaches, and coral reefs are deteriorating.
Lahj: a multifaceted city
Those who drop-by, albeit briefly, will see a historic Lahj with natural and architectural beauty. There are a variety of attractions, such as, al-Hosaini green gardens and the beautiful Yafae, famous for coffee and old houses.
The area has plenty of bushes and old trees. Around 45 varieties of natural plants, rare birds and wild animals are in the area. Lahj also has a fantastically long coastline with sands and coral reefs.
The city is is known for its lush meadows, its attractive scenes and landscapes. Its famous for its palm trees and fragrant flowers such as, Arabian Jasmine.
Al-Husieni, the famous botanical garden in the city, is famous for its fruit. Its also known as the place where lovers sing the sweetest songs because of its surrounding, fascinating valleys.
Lahj has also preserved some of its rich folkloric heritage through its dances, handed down from generation to generation. The most popular dances are known as Lahji dances.
There is also plenty of potential in Lahj in connection with tourists who like to visit sites of holy tombs, such as that of the Holy Man, Abdullah Bin Ali, Omar Bin Ali, Sufian in Sufian village, or Hassan Albahr in al-Hamra village.
Tourists won’t confine themselves to visit the tombs, but go and see some of the surrounding historical sites, particularly after discovering the old sites in the city.
The city is famous for the natural hot bath waters, such as, Shura’a and al-Hoaimi at al-Kabita District.
So, there is loads of potential for tourists, in, for example, seeing desert and environmental diversities, diving, and visiting old historical places.
But as Director of Lahj Tourism, Abdurahman Ahmed recently said, Tourism activities in Lahj are confined to families in Old Lahj, al-Hosaini green gardens and Dar al-Araes, which is famous for its evergreen plants.
Without more support, it appears all that the rest of the area has to offer will continue to be unknown.