Zabid More than Just an Enchanting Tourist Site [Archives:2000/30/Culture]

July 24 2000

Saleh Abdulbaki
Yemen Times
Many are the historical tourist sites in Yemen 0of which Zabid is important and famous, if properly utilized, will add a very important source to the national revenues. Ignorance and negligence towards these potentials have remarkably weakened tourists’ arrival in the city.
The Tourism Office of Hodiedah asserted that the city was gifted with many beauty-spots such as the desert and the traditional means of transportation, camels and horses. Camels here are used to carry people and tourists from the city to Al-Fazah, a tourist village situated at a very fascinating piece of land on the beach. Tourists and visitors complain about lack of rest houses and comfortable hotels to stay.
Zabid is 1000 kilometers to the south of Hodiedah city. It is 100 meters above sea level. The Wadi of zabid is 150 meters above sea level. The city is divided into four zones. Historians say that it was the same zoning since the fourth century of Hejira.
Many Islamic states controlled Zabid throughout various periods of history. Every state had left its own traces on it. Among those traces, the Grand Mosque, built in the third Hejira century, is the most important. There is also the old Al-Asha’ir mosque built in 58 Hejira. Both Al-Asha’ir and the Grand Mosque have been renovated many times.
Close to Al-Asha’ir mosque there exists the ancient ‘souk’ (market) in the city centre. In the past this souk was the busiest part of the city. Today it is a half-deserted place.
Zabid is famous for not only its ancient mosques, for it embraces 85 old Islamic schools. The most famous schools are Al-Jabartiah built in 722 Hejira, Al-Farhaniah 9th century of Hejira and Al-Kamaliah which was built in 521 for Hejira. The last is said to be built by the Turkish Prince, Kamal Al-Rawhi.
Four historic gates are presented in Zabid. Namely, they are Al-Shabareeq, Al-Nakhl, Al-Qurtub and Siham. A number of graves of old Islamic figures have become hearthstones for which flock hundreds of Muslims and Jews together.
In Al-Fazah beach, where hundreds of palm trees shooting up into the sky throw a cold shadow on the sand. The Canadian expedition has come across precious ancient stony tools. It is said that in 823 Hejira, King Al-Nasser Ahmad Al-Rasouli received a number of Chinese experts to establish a resort on the beach as well as a harbor to export the city’s industries. Bani Rasol’s kings used to swim here. In the nearby area there still is a spring of fresh water where swimmers wash their bodies after swimming in the sea.
To conclude, there are many nice tourist attractive places in the city. In this regard, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism to include promotion of Zabid in its plans for the next years to ensure a beeline of tourists to the city.