In Ta’izz, staying at the Royal Ta’izz Hotel. we visited the 13th century al-Ashrafiya Mosque, not longer in active use. That meant we were allowed to visit the inside. Ta’izz is located at the base of Mt. Sabir and is a holy city. The Palace of Imam Ahmed is a national museum and crammed with objects and memorabilia. An interesting story in the Museum about the Imam, Ahmad, said “that his injuries from a would-be assassin’s bullet resulted in taking a lot of transquilizers amd morphine which ended his life in the most fabulous and mythical manners.”
The Salah Palace was another palace-turned-museum with a collection of old silverware and coins. Ta’izz was less conservative than most areas of Yemen and many women were unveiled and wore bright colors. Ta’izz, also in hindsight, had the best shopping of the entire trip and I think we were already out of money
All our meals were served in a group setting and I remember one lunch where both Nancy and I just wanted to lie down on the carpets from the heat. Forget about eating… it was that hot! Our group was not only congenial but very good travelers. I think you’d have to be to even consider Yemen in the first place.
Jibla and Ibb is a very fertile area and receives most of Yemen’s rainfall. Jibla is home to the mosque and tomb of Queen Arwa, the only female leader in the history of Islamic Yemen. She was also well-educated and responsible for developing much of the agricultural terracing around the area. Queen Arwa became ruler in 1067 when her husband died and ruled until her death in 1138 at age 92.
From the highlands, it was back to the Taj Sheba Hotel in Sana’a for one night before seting off again in another direction and some entertainment Our lunch stop included some drumming…and our drivers added to the festivities by doing a little more dancing…