By Tamjid Alkohali
It’s not an exaggeration if Al-Skoon Park in Taiz governorate is described as one of the few best tourist places in Yemen or as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Al-skoon is an Arabic word meaning “calm” and it’s a description of a quiet climate. The park rises 3,000 meters above sea level and was established by a Yemeni engineer Mohammed Saif Hameed, who carved up a huge mountain in order to create such amazing park.
“My faith in the value of my homeland gave me the capacity to establish this park on this mountain,” Hameed said.
A lover of nature, Hameed didn’t wait for any support from the state or any financial return from the park, proving his love for his homeland.
“I can invest my money anywhere and earn a lot of money, but in fact Yemen is a heaven where we can establish new civilizations, so I wanted to put my fingerprint on this beautiful land for the new coming generations,” he explained.
The project began in 1993, when Hameed used his capabilities, skills, and creativity to carve terraces from the mountain and brought in arable soil to plant flowers and more than ten kinds of fruit. Olives became one of the fruits planted for the first time in Yemen.
“Only one year ago all the terraces were covered by green trees, and then I decided to fill this mountain with life,” he said.
Hameed didn’t stop there; he started to build suitable places for people to have fun, turning caves into rooms and crevices into corridors, establishing the Hanging Gardens at the end.
“The project isn’t finished yet. I plan to build villas on the top of the mountain for people who want to stay in a quiet place as well as tourist markets, resort hotels, and rest houses for young people to spend useful times instead of chewing Qat,” he stated.
Providing the project with electricity and water was not an obstacle for Hameed. He built small dams for water and took advantage of wind power and has planted a cell to generate energy from the wind, which lights the park.
His dependence on nature without the intervention of modern machines is remarkable.
“We live in a land full of treasures. We just need to exploit the potential of young people and save them from the scourge of Qat by encouraging them to do sports and go to cultural clubs to practice their hobbies,” he added.
A good number of people visit the park from everywhere locally and regionally. Hameed refused to talk about the total cost of the project, saying money isn’t important issue to have such a wonderful world built up for your luxury. He just wants to put his fingerprint on his beloved homeland.
Recently, Hameed called on all businessmen in Yemen to invest in their country and to campaign against Qat, which he sees as the main reason for all Yemen’s problems