Aden consists of a number of directorates spreading around Aden creater and its old port, on the coasts overlooking its bays. It includes a number of islands in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
Aden City Historical Outlook:
Aden was one of the rich ancient Arab Cities. It had a deep rooted history dating back to 3000 and was mentioned in the Mousnad inscriptions. It was also mentioned in the Old Testament as Eden. Through history BC up to the contemporary date. Aden witnessed many historical events but it did not lose its position as an important seaport linking the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean as the Asian Trade was coming through the Old Aden port at Sirah bay, then to be carried , by the Yemenite caravans to the north so as to be distributed to the ancient Orient and there from to the ancient world. Hence persisted movement of trade between the West and Orient. The weakness of the role of Aden as an important seaport due to some political changes in the consecutive states through history and the transfer of the seaport either to Qana in Shabwa on the Arabian sea or to Mawzaa and Mokha on the Red Sea, but Aden Seaport reverts quickly to its natural functioning in pioneering as a matchless seaport.
Furthermore, Aden was one of the ancient famous Arabian Markets, there used to be held an annual market during the first ten days of Ramadan . The most important of what used to be exhibited in Aden Market of Yemenite products, the perfumeries and perfumes of Aden Manufacture like Adam, Brood, Dyes. Aden was famous for the manufacture of the best fragrances in the world. It was also the starting point for the camel caravans through the road known as the Asaad Pathway. After the advent of Islam. The Arabian towns entered a new stage characterized in its first stages by taking interest in construction of mosques; spread of Islamic sermon givers in the main cities of which Aden was one. Thus in Aden the famed Mosque of Aban was built which is attributed to Aban Bun Othman Bin Affan and dates back to the second Half of the first century AH. Towards the end of the 7th century AD. Aden continued as an Islamic metropolitan and a starting point for pilgrimage and traders for from Aden used to spring out many roads and paths, of which some were along the shoreline to Jeddah or through the mountains and Plateau to Mecca. At the beginning of the Independence of the Yemenite States from the Center of the Islamic Caliphate, the activity of Aden seaport was linked to those states which took turn in ruling Yemen or parts of Yemen as from the date of establishment of the Ziyadaite State. At the beginning of the ninth Century AD passing through the control of Bani Maan, then the rise of Ali Bin Al Fadal the Qarmatin with his call. Aden was one of his main cities.
Then the influence continued by the Najahide State. Then the Sullayyhides till Aden became a capital of the Ziraite State which continued as of 1083 till 1173 AD. Then Aden entered under the rule of the Ayyubides as of 1147AD till 1229 Ad. Then the Rasullides as of 1226-1454 AD, then fell under the last Islamic Yemenite State at the beginning of modern history The Tahiride State as of 1446 AD to 1507 AD. These consequent in Aden all the defense fortresses and fortifications at the Mountains change enclosing it represented in fortresses, forts, walls, Bridges, Cisterns, Roads .. etc,, at the beginning of the modern history at the 16th century AD, Aden became an objective for the Portuguese Ottoman Contention. When the ottomans ruled Yemen during the first period as of 1538AD till 1635AD , they transferred Aden into an advanced belligerent fort so as to face the Portuguese ambitions in the Arabian sea which in turn weakened the commercial importance of Aden Seaport and the loss of its prosperity factors and thus the main prosperous seaport was that of Mokha. The second important reason which annihilated the role of Aden was the commerce in Yemeni coffee instead of Eastern Condiments whose Transit Trade caused Aden to prosper.
The Coffee Trade through the Port of Mokha (Mokha) was the new economic base and as a commercial trade between the East and the Mediterranean through 16th, 17th, 18th centuries AD. Aden seaport continued to deteriorate. Till the British Colonialism occupied Aden in 1839 till 1967AD.
The Old Port of Aden at the foot of Sirah Fortresses continued just for ten years after occupation due to its cover with sedimentation due its negligence due the past period. Also other changes took place regard to the size of ships after the discovery of steam from coal in addition to the fact that the old port worked during the seasonal months only. Thus the port of Aden moved to Al Tauahi and Maala became its northern tip and was called the backyard seaport. In 1869 AD. AL Maala and Tawahi extended due to the activity of the modern port and during the prosperity of coal trade as fuel source Aden port reclaimed its importance in Trade Commerce and the introduction and catering services to the ships.
Maala was famous for Shipwrighting and this is an ancient trade known by Yemen for millenniums. At the beginning of Exploitation of Petroleum instead of Coal as of 1928 AD the big ships used to dock in the port and the Trade average between East and West rose to great heights and thus the importance Aden flourished and its services were made ever made ever viable let alone construction of Warehouses for Petroleum at the Western extremity of Maala. The Fish Quarters enlarged and so did the construction activity and establishment of modern facilities as witnessed today.
Old Aden Town
Located in the Creater and surrounded by Shamsan mountains from one side and the sea from the other sides. Most of its houses and streets date back to the end of the 19th century. The architectural style prevailing in Aden is a mix of the elements of Yemenite, Indian and Victorian architecture. The city includes important sites such as Al-Aidrus mosque and Minaret dating back to 500 years ago, and the old market with its special flavor perfumed with the smell of Adenite incense.
The guard post of Aden city and a symbol of its safety .It stands atop a mountain at the sea entrance. It overlooks the old port and dates back to more than one thousands years ago.
Forts and Towers
The city of Aden is surrounded by series of walls and towers dating back to more than one thousand years. They were built by several dynasties starting with Banni Zurai and ending with the British. Aden gate was until recently the most important of those fortification. It was demolished during the Sixties of this century.
Aden Tanks (Cisterns or Reservoirs)
They are located at the head of Attawila Wadi at the Southwest of Creater and is considered one of the great historical engineering works in Yemen. It was, first built in the ancient time and was mentioned in Al- Musnad inscriptions.
The tanks system developed throughout the successive stages of history from Bani Zurai Resulides and Tahrides until they were buried and then discovered by the British in the Mid 19th century .The Britishs need of water made them attempt to modify the tanks original design, which witnessed several trails and then the British failed and gave up the tanks were designed both to collect the scarce rain water and divert run off to protect the city of Aden, in case of heavy rains and sweeping floods. They amounted to 53 tank only 13 remained. Today they are a tourist attraction.
The Governorate of Aden has many beautiful and clean sandy beaches around a number of small throughout Aden Gulf as well as the coasts around little ADEN, Ras Amran village and Abyan beach. There are many small medium islets around Aden in addition to the islands in the Arabian in the Arabian Sea, the most important of which in Socotra and its archipelago.
Al Tawilah Cisterns
Situated atop Al-Tawilah valley at the Southeast angle of Old Aden (Crater). Stop at the entrance of the cisterns and go with the group through the path leading to the head of the Wadi where you shall see stony stairway that guide you around the cisterns and canals linking them, sometimes at the right side and sometimes at the left side. Continue walking till you arrive at the end of the path at the mountains foot and this is not the end of the cisterns but still there are more. The best place to take photos is from a higher location after the end of the path at the left side of the mountain.
Choose the right place for standing with the group and begin talking about the history of the cisterns for through its mention in inscriptions it was known that they belong to the ancient Yemen history and that they have been developed during the Rule of Banu Zuraia, the Roulades, the Tahirides and the Ottomans. Till they were uncovered by the British whose need and the need of garrisons and ships for water made them search for the source of water. They cleaned them and repaired them and modified their designs which were developed through history.
The modifications were not successful and they did not take avail and them. There are now only 13. They were originally for collecting water and drainage of sweeping floods for the sake of protection of the city and they are a great feat in the domain of irrigation in the history of ancient Yemen and during the Islamic Era after the visit of Al Tawilah cisterns. Go with them for the visit of Al Aidaroous mosque and Minaret which houses many tombs, particularly the eldest after whom the mosque was named and its history dates back to before 500 years and to the nearest time the tourists were permitted to have a look at the toms. Then continue your trip by car till you arrive at Vegetable Market and get down. Go with them on a tour the Taweel Market in inner town where are many shops selling the artifacts and souvenirs as well as the silverware and the Adenite Frankincense .On the car move towards the archaeological museum on the left side before the entrance to Sirah Island the sea fort of Aden throughout history.
Tour with them at the various sections of the museum and there are other museum like the museum of customs and traditions and the Military museum. Stop in front of each important piece in the museum and speak as they have notice to read what is written under each pieces. Speak to them about the palace and the style of Architecture which is amalgamated amongst Arab, Indo and South East Asian as well as the Victorian Element. Then go with them for the visit of Sirah fortress, the time is short for taking photos and speaking about ancient Aden port at the entrance of the Bay. From the same place you can speak about historical fortifications whose Walls and towers at the heights surrounding Aden. Also speak to them about one of the churches that can be seen form the mountain angels opposite Sirah.
Then go to Bab Aden and stop to take photos and speak the Gate of Aden City Aden Pass which was an architectural miracle of ancient times till it was destroyed by the British under the pretext of widening the road before their evacuation of Aden in 1967 AD. Continue the trip in Maala through Madram Street the most modern street in the Arabian Peninsula when Aden was the Gem of the British Crown. Then go to the modern port (Tawahi).
Then visit the Terminal of travelers at the right side of the road at the Opening of the Bay and big Ben Miniature at the neighboring hill then continue the trip to enjoy the beautiful surrounding in the Bays Zone after passage next to the Church beginning with the Elephant Bay and mention to them the reason and that in the rock resembling the elephant and its trunk. Them go to Gold Mohur and ten the lovers Bay. After that Bay of ABU Alwadi which is difficult to reach and may be possible if the program includes a marine trip around Aden Bay on a tourist Boat. Aden with its mountains and Bays through that trip shall confirm to you the recount about the tears that wetted its lovers from the British Officer at the last moments of Adieu in that place, Then pursue the program of the trip. Maybe that can be feasible in the afternoon when one can enjoy one of Adenite beaches around little Aden, Amran, Abyan or the lovers Bay.
The highest and greatest mountains surrounding Aden is Shamsan which used to be known in the past as Irr Mountain. From it to the Southwest and north branches some of which is submerging in the sea whilst its eastern foot ends in a small plateau around Aden or Creater from the west and the highest summit in Shamasan Mount is that extending northerly and southerly at its northern extremity.