Rayma: The Governorate of Forts and Towering Mountains

National Yemen

By NY Staff

Yemen has many governorates with ancient history and geographical importance. One of these is the Raymah governorate. Many people wonder about the meaning of Raymah. Historian Haider Ali Naji says that Raymah means the high altitude mountains.

Raymah is in fact a mountainous province. It’s located among a series Western mountains of Yemen that face the Red Sea and is surrounded by two of the five most important valleys in the Red sea, Seham and Rma’a.

Raymah is considered one of the most rural areas with a dense populated due to its mountainous nature. According to the census, which was implemented in December last year, the number of residents is about 395.076 inhabitants, or 2% of the population of the Republic of Yemen, while its area is about 2000 km2.

The people of the Raymah governorate enjoy cold weather in winter and a mild climate in summer which makes them interested in agriculture during the year, where they plant many many fruits, vegetables, cereals, and coffee. The governorate is characterized by agricultural terraces and scenic locales.

Besides the nice weather, Raymah has many important and charming natural sites, such as Kasama and al-Jafaryah, where there are many valleys and torrents. The valleys and torrents are filled with water throughout the year as a result of heavy rains. Because of these green valleys, agricultural terraces, and torrents, Raymah looks as if it’s a very beautiful painting when it is viewed from its high mountains.

Raymah dates back to the third century BC. It has more than 75 archaeological sites which narrate plenty of historical events, especially in the era of the Qataban state, the Sheba state, and the Himyarite state as well as the Islamic period until the modern era.

According to inscriptions found in al-Domar mountain in the Salafiah directorate, Raymah was part of the Qataban state, which controlled the coasts of Red Sea. Because of the wars faced by Raymah in the past, people have established hundred of forts, and some remain on the tops of its high mountains.

For example, al-Mantasser Fort in the Salafiah directorate was built in 1208 AH. It is surrounded by a big wall and contains 15 stores for grains, an old mosque, and a dam to reserve rainwater. Massoud fort in East al-Jobeen has an important group of cisterns. Al-Moheel fort is considered one of the most important historical buildings in the Jafaryah area. It dates back a hundred years and is located on the top of Jafaryah Mountain.

Al-Taweela fort is also in al-Jobeen area. It has a lot of stones which were carved by Missned lines. There are also many other wars forts on the tops of Raymah’s mountains.

Moreover, there are a lot of historical mosques. The most important is the Great Mosque in al-Jobeen. It dates back to the 19th century AD. It has a big library which includes more than 60 manuscripts of the holy Quran and the hadith. Also, Al-Rebat Nahary mosque dates back to the 11th century AD and is characterized by creative works on its walls.

In short, Raymah, with its high mountains, forts, green valleys, agricultural terraces, torrents, beautiful landscapes and archaeological sites, is considered one of the most important and attractive places for local and international tourism. Especially if its roads were improved, water and electricity projects were carried out, and the governorate invested in services such as hotels, restaurants, parks, tourism would continue to grow.