Zubaid being Removed fromWorld Heritage List


National Yemen

Zubaid being Removed fromWorld Heritage List

By Tamjid Alkohali

When you see its archaeological monuments, you find them narrating a story of a long history that started before Islam. Castles, mosques, and monuments are surrounded by neglected and random buildings. Even the restorations don’t take into account scientific procedures. As a result, UNESCO has sent a warning letter threatening to remove Zubaid from the World Heritage List if they won’t handle their problems.

The named Zubaid comes from Zubaid Wadi.  Zubaid is located in the western Tihamah plain, between Rmaa Valley and Zubaid Wadi. It’s a long ways away from the Hudaydah governorate 100 kilometers and from the Red Sea, which is 25 km. its weather is hot in summer and cool in winter.

Zubaid is surrounded by a wall made of red bricks which was built in the third century AH, decorated by four old doors made of brick and spread around all four sides of the ancient wall.

For a long time, Zubaid has been considered a historical site in Yemen. It was founded in the beginning of the third century AH. It has been the capital of successive states such as Nagahaha, Mahdia, Ayyubid, Rasulid, and Tahiride. Also, it has become an administrative and cultural center since the advent of the Turks until today.

 According to the archaeological surveys, the human settlement in Zubaid Wadi dates back to the fourth millennium BC, where al-Sheema Village, in the west of Zubaid city, is considered one of the oldest areas inhabited by human beings.

In addition, people in Zubaid were the first who believed on Islam in Yemen. Zubaid played a major role in Islamic history and has become a source of scientific and cultural tradiation reaching everywhere. Its rulers were keen to develop its scientific role. Throughout the years, they built more than 85 mosque and many scientific schools.

Because of the scientific importance of Zubaid, it has become a destination for scientists and researchers from all over the world. Many scholars, imams, and senior writers, whether from Yemen or the Muslim world, have graduated from Zubaid, which was an important cultural center in the last quarter of the eighth century AH. In the late eighth century AH, the number of cultural institutions reached 230. This number indicates clearly the importance of intellectuals in Zubaid.

Furthermore, Zubaid has many archaeological landmarks that reference the historical importance of Zubaid such as Al-Ashaer Mosque, built in eighth year of migration after Yemenis believed in Islam. It’s also considered one of Arab civilization’s treasures and there are still the fingerprints of successive Islamic statelets until today. It is also home to the Great Mosque, which has spiritual and historical importance. It’s one of the biggest and most important mosques in Yemen besides the Great Mosque in old Sana’a. It was built in 225 AH, and renewed by leaders of other successive Statelets.

There is also Zubaid Castle, which is considered one of biggest archaeological castles in the city. The castle contains a mosque, wells, stores, wards, stables, and a court. It is surrounded by high wall. According to the Canadian Mission, the castle was built in 491 AH and it currently contains a regional museum and administrative and governmental facilities.

In addition to many landmarks such as Uys Qarni mosque, the Alexandria School, and Islamic school which number over 80, each site is considered an architectural masterpiece and shows the beautiful of old Yemeni ancient architecture, adding to its scientific and intellectual importance.

Currently, Zubaid includes more than sixty private libraries and has hundreds of scientific manuscripts that are priceless. It is characterized by cultural events in cultural clubs and forums. For example, a cultural forum holds the annual cultural day.  Is it fair for Zubaid to be removed from World Heritage List?