Zabid’s historyA window to yesteryear [Archives:2004/798/Community]

December 13 2004

Ismail Al-Ghabiri
Zabid town is one of Yemen's historic places that is a window to Yemen's past.
It has 29 mosques and 53 Quranic schools, the most famous of which are Al-Sha'ir mosque built by Abu Musa Al-Asha'iri in the 8th year after Hejra, and Zabid Grand Mosque that dates back to the year 798 After Hejra (16th century AD.)
The two mosques were rebuilt and expanded during successive periods of time.
The town of Zabid is one of the most famous religious and scientific centers, not only of Yemen, but also of the ancient Islamic world.
The first educators of Al-Azhar, University of Egypt, came from Zabid. The schools of Zabid taught the interpretations of all Islamic sects, Safie', Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali and Ismaeli.
Some of these schools, bearing their original names, still stand. Another landmark of Zabid is the old souk which was divided into sections on the basis of the type of craft or product sold. The old souq is one of the most important parts of the town.
Zabid was a center for weaving, dying and tanning industries. The facade of houses tells a story of a glorious past. The dazzling, richly ornamented walls, alters, pedestals, pillars and wooden gates reveal the aesthetic aspect of architecture. The grandeur of construction can be seen in the surviving structures of Al-Nasser Palace, and Nasser Citadel and towers.
The private libraries of Zabid still contain many rare manuscripts and books in various sciences. Algebra was invented by a scholar from Zabid. There are a number of tombs of the followers of Ismaeli sect visited by many people especially from India.
Since Zabid was a capital of several successive dynasties and an important center from time to time, several locations around it were under its authority.