What to See in Sayun and Hodeidah (Yemen)
According to Zipcodesexplorer, Sayun is the largest city in the Masila River valley, which flows in the eastern desert part of Yemen. Since the 15th century, Sayun has been the capital of the Masila River Valley. The city is surrounded by palm groves and orchards. Sayoun can be reached by car from Marib through the desert of Ramlat es Sabatain.
The main attraction of Sayun is the Al-Katiri Sultan’s Palace. Initially, it was a fort, but after reconstructions in the 20s of the 20th century, it began to be used as a palace. The palace complex consists of 16 buildings with about 90 rooms. In 1936, the Museum of Local Lore was opened in the palace.. The museum contains collections of archaeological finds, objects of arts and crafts, weapons, personal belongings of the sultans and old photographs. Be sure to visit the Sayuna central market, which sells local artisans and the famous Yemeni honey, which is produced in the nearby Wadi Dovan valley.
In the vicinity of Sayun, the tomb of the prophet Issa, the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad, is interesting. The tomb is located on a mountain and dates back to the 10th century AD. A road was laid along the slope of the mountain, which leads to its foot, where the mosque stands. Many pilgrims come here every year. The famous city of Shibam
is located 20 km west of Sayun.. This is a city of clay skyscrapers, the most ancient on the planet, because of which the name “Manhattan of the desert” stuck behind Shibam. It is believed that Shibam was founded in the 2nd century AD. It stands on a 30 m high hill and from a distance looks like a castle growing in the middle of the desert. The city consists of houses built of unbaked clay bricks, having from 5 to 11 floors and located close to each other so that one can get from house to house through the roofs. About 500 Shibam buildings reach a height of 30 m, and some of them are about 500 years old. For its unique architecture in 1982, Shibam was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Program. Also in Shibam, the remains of the fortress walls and the Haron Al-Rashid mosque of the early 10th century are interesting.
30 km east of Sayun is the city of Tarim., which before Sayun was the main city of the Masila River Valley, and therefore its main trading center. Since then, entire merchant clans have been living in Tarim. In ancient times, Tarim was known as one of the most important Islamic centers of learning, and even today, hundreds of mosques and Koran schools have survived in the city. Tarim is home to the early 20th century El Mihdar Mosque, whose minaret is 60 m high and is the tallest minaret in the southern Arabian Peninsula. Also of interest is the Sheikh Ali Mosque, which is considered the most beautiful mosque in the city. Tarim is home to the second largest library in the country, Al-Aqaf, which contains about 5,000 old manuscripts. In addition, in Tarim you can see many mansions of wealthy merchant families, in which various architectural styles are mixed.
The capital of the Tihamah Coastal Dry Region and Al Hodeidah Province is the city of Hodeidah . It is the fourth largest city in Yemen and the country’s largest seaport. Hodeida is located on the Red Sea and is surrounded by sandy beaches. In the period from the 7th to the 19th century, the city was one of the main ports of the region. The distance from Hodeidah to Sanaa is 226 km, between them there is a highway of good quality. In Hodeida, it is worth visiting the fish market, which opens in the early morning. On its shelves you can see not only commercial fish, such as tuna, and lobsters, but also sharks and manta rays. There is an interesting city 50 km southeast of Hodeida Bayt Al Faqih, where one of the largest markets in the region runs every Friday. The market was opened at the beginning of the 18th century. A wide variety of goods are sold here: vegetables, fruits, coffee, spices, textiles, pottery and products of local craftsmen.
100 km southeast of Hodeidah, 25 km from the coast, is one of the most significant cities in the Islamic world – Zabid. From the 13th to the 15th centuries it was the capital of the country. There are 29 mosques, 53 religious schools and one of the oldest universities in the Arab world, which was founded in 800 AD. The city’s most famous mosques are Al-Ashair from the 9th century and the Great Mosque from the 16th century.
Hot springs are located in the southern part of Al-Khodeidah province. The most popular source is located in the city of Al-Suhan 45 km south of Hodeida. In the old days, Yemeni imams rested here in winter. The spring waters help in the treatment of diseases of the digestive tract, skin diseases and rheumatism.
Sandy beaches stretch along the coast of the province. In the vicinity of the city of Hodeidah is Al-Kateb Irj beach. South of Hodeidah are the beaches of Al-Faz, where members of the Rasulid dynasty liked to relax, Al-Kawka, where you can stay overnight in fishermen’s huts, and Al-Uri. About 70 km north of Hodeidah, Ibn Abbas beach is popular. Not far from here, 2 km from the coast of Al Salif Bay, is Kamaran island – the largest Yemeni island in the Red Sea. Its area is 108 sq. km, length – 18 km, width – 7 km. This is a shelf island surrounded by coral reefs on three sides. The island is known for its colorful underwater world and beaches. For living on the island, a tourist village is equipped, with 10 traditional-style huts. Each hut can accommodate 2 to 3 people. Inside there is a huge bed, but all the amenities are located outside the huts on the territory of the tourist village. There is a dive club on the island, which arranges daily dives in the surrounding waters. Diving here is possible all year round. While diving, you will see over 100 species of colorful tropical fish, large marine life such as dolphins, and dozens of coral species. Diving depth varies from 7 to 30 m.