[06/July/2003] * Al-Khokha
Al-Khokha is a fishermen’s village which boats one of the most beautiful beaches on the Red Sea. Here you will find palm tree forests. Even more interesting in al-Khokha is the fact that wherever you dig a hole in the sand, you will find fresh water. Many tourists prefer to stay in al-Khokha for onwe or two nights. Sleeping outside under the palm trees with the starts as your roof definitely is an experience.
Zabid was founded in the 9th century AC and was the center of an influential Islamic school and the famed University of Zabid. Named after its first governor and founder,, Zabid was one of the oldest towns in Yemen and one of the first to convert to Islam during the lifetime of Mohammed (PBUH). It boats several families whole lineage can be traced to the great prophet.
during the Abbasid rule. It became the capital of the Najahya, Zaydiah and Rasulia states in the latter days. Zabid was a famous center of Islam and a major stop for caravans. In fact, Zabid still is a city renowned for its Islamic schools.
The international group, UNESCO, has declared Zabid as a World Heritage site and has funded excavations of the old schools. Visitors can enter the ruins of the ancient university and inspect the intricate designs formed from the mud bricks. Several old buildings had evidence of Jewish influence, with the six pointed star of David incorporated in the architectural scheme and décor. These sites are open to the public and are littered with pot shards and bricks. Most of the excavations are done in the cooler months. We could easily have spent an entire day taking photographs and exploring the ruins, but the sun was much too hot.
The temprature in Zabid was cooler than Aden, but still quite hot. Gary had to scurry for any relief he could find. When he disappeared we would often find him hiding in some shady corner.
This was once a walled city. The remaining gates to the citaded are still intact and serve as a main entrance to the maze of narrow streets in the city interior. Sheep and goats roam the dusty streets while young children play in brightly colored dresses or small sport coats. Yemeni children are almost always dressed in this attire.
Outside the walls of the city there is abundant agriculture. Archiaeological evidence suggests that farming has been ongoing for many millennia. Zabid borders the coffee region of Yemen and a major part of the suq still trades in this crop.
Aside from the suq, life is slow. Most of the two was low key and was a pleasant place to stop, have some coffee and relax in the Zabid Tourist House.
There are many mosques in Zabid. In fact, I was told there was one mosque for every eight houses in the city. This one-time center of Islamic education is still the home to over 80 Koran schools and centers for Islamic studies.
It is a young city and Yemen’s fourth largest. Al-Hodeidah is situated on the Red Sea and important for fishing.