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Last updated : Nov 2009
West & Southwest Yemen
The West & Southwest - TravelPuppy.com
Ta’izz

The city of Ta’izz lies in the south at an altitude of 1,400 metres (4590 feet). The old city has been all but swallowed up by the fast growing modern city around it but stunning old houses and mosques remain within the line of the 13 th century city wall, which is still intact along the southern side.

To the north, the gates of Bab Musa and al-Bab al-Kabir are the single which remain. The southern wall offers a beautiful view of Ta’izz. Al-Qahera, within the city walls, is the fortress and the oldest part of the city.

Al-Ashrafiya and al-Mudhaffar are 2 of the most stunning mosques in Yemen. The museum in the Palace of Imam Ahmed contains the personal effects of the last Imam, and has conserved the spirit of Yemen from before the beginning of the Republic.

The Salah Palace, which is to the east just outside the city, is another museum of the royal family. The Souk Ta’izz sells a range of goods, including silverware and carpets.

Mount Saber is 18 kilometres (11 miles) from Ta’izz and offers a breathtaking view of the city and the Ta’izz basin. A heavy duty vehicle is required to drive to the top. The mountain rises to an altitude of 3,000 metres (9,840 feet) and the weather can be very cold.

The Red Sea Coast

Mokha is an aged Himyarite port on the Red Sea. In the 17 th and 18 th centuries, Mokha enjoyed a escalation period exporting coffee, which was becoming fashionable in Europe, particularly Amsterdam and Venice, where the 1st coffee houses were opened. Coffee was later refined elsewhere and Mokha fell into decline.

In recent years, the Government has enhanced the harbour and communications within Mokha in an attempt to resurrect this once wealthy city. Hodeida is reached using the mountains of Manakha.

A modern city port on the Red Sea, the harbour itself was concluded in 1961. There is little here of historical interest apart from the fish market, where fishing boats have been built from wood in the same way for 100's of years.

Elsewhere

The Tihama in the west has insignificant rainfall and is mainly hot, humid and lightly populated. The road south from Sana’a to Ta’izz runs through particularly mountainous countryside and passes the towns of Dhofar, the ancient capital of the Himyarites (115 BC–AD 525), and Ibb, a once significant stopping point on the Sana’a to Ta’izz road.

An aqueduct and other remains of the city walls can still be seen. The Sumara Pass, at an altitude of 2,700 metres (8,860 feet), gives a beautiful panoramic view over the Yarim and Dhamar basins.

Along another route, running roughly parallel to the Red Sea coast, Beit al-Faqih, 60 kilometres (37 miles) inland from Hodeida, has a good craft market. Manakha, once a road station for the Ottoman Turks, is located on a saddle of the Haraz Mountains. Customary Ismaeli villages lie to the east, this area is remarkably good for hiking.