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Arabic: zabīd

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Zabid, Yemen

Zabid, Yemen

Town of western Yemen with 65,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), situated 16 km from the Red Sea and on the foot of the Yemeni mountains.
During its heyday, Zabid's economy was based on weaving, dyeing, tanneries and leatherwork. Today it is mainly dealing with local agriculture.
It was never a large city but very rich city, and boosted both a leading university and as many as 236 mosques. Although neglected for centuries, the thick city wall still surrounds Zabid. The main site today is the Great Mosque, for centuries the centre of the university.

Zabid's history goes deep back in history.
820: Refounded by the Abbasids as the administrative centre for the Ziyadid Dynasty. A university is founded here as well. The Ziyadids would quickly become independent, and make Zabid their capital.
989: Zabid is conquered and burned by the tribe of Banu Yafur.
1018: End of the Ziyadid Dynasty, but Zabid continues to serve as capital of the lands of Yemen.
1175: The capital functions are moved to Ta'izz.
Late 15th century: The Tahirid Dynasty brings new growth and prosperity to Zabid.
1994: Is added to UNESCO's World Heritage list.

By Tore Kjeilen