One of the most fertile regions in Yemen. From its mountains the waters of several large wadis run into the coastal plain. Coffee beans, tobacco and various fruits grow here.
During summer, Al-Mahwit mountains and terraces are as green as the green province of Ibb. Al Mahwits climate and inhabitants combine features of mountain and plain.
Al Mahwit contains number wadis, e.g. Wadi Samaa. Wadi Eyan, Wadi Jumat Saria, Wadi Hawar, Wadi Bour, Wadi Al-Hawdh, Wadi Thabab, Wadi Laaa, Wadi Al-Ahjer which used to be employed for turning mills and Wadi Naawan. There are a number of high mountains, the most famous of which are Bilad Ghail, Hufash, Milhan, Bani Saad, Kawkaban, Al-Dhila. Al-Qaranaa in At-Tawila.
It is about 111km northwest of Sanaa. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Yemen in terms of its geographical location, landscape and fascinating wadis. It is 2100 m above sea level.
Al Mahwit city rises at the western foothills of Bilad Ghail mountains it flourished during the heydays of agriculture and trade of coffee beans. It was a center for the collection of coffee in preparation for transport to export ports from late 15th century AD until mid 18th century AD. It is also became an important administrative center during the first Ottoman rule of Yemen (1538-1635AD).
Stone architecture prevails in the west northern region overlooking the coastal plain. It has one of the most beautiful architectural style especially Al-Masnaa in Al-Mahwit city.
From the summit of the mountain overlooking Al-Mahwit known as Al-Raiyadi beautiful scenery is viewed.
It is about 72km from the capital Sanaa, at the foothills of Al-Qarani mountain, about 2400 m above sea level. It overlooks Al-Mahwit city to the west and Haraz and Al-Haimatin to the south. A beautiful city, with wonderful architecture. At Tawila also flourished during the period of the agriculture and trade of coffee beans from late 15th century AD until mid 18tyh century AD, as a collection center for coffee beans in preparation for transport to export parts (Al-Luhayya, Al-Hodeidah Mokha). The historical Husn (Fort) is the most important site there.
Al-Mahwit province abounds with several beautiful tourist attractions in terms of scenery terraces and architecture. The old village of All-Rujum is a typical example of that architecture. A famous weekly market is held there every Monday and it is one of the most beautiful markets in Yemen.
It is about 56 km from Sanaa midway between Shibam and At-Tawila it is a fertile agricultural reputed for its waterfalls which were used in powering flour mills it is one of the most n=beautiful tourist attraction.
Al-Mahwit province has many beautiful places ad fertile wadis. There are several fortresses and citadels on mountain tops. A scenic route connects Al Mahwit and Khamees Bani Saad on the Sanaa to Hodeidah highway, which is one of the most attractive across Wadi Saraa.
Shibam is historically known as Shibam Aqyan. It was an important center for whart is historically known as Samaai Triad during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The ancient town is now in ruins. Shibam in Sabean comes from the verb Shabam which means the Goat or cool and is a name of many places in Yemen like Shibam Haraz, Shibam Hadhramwt, Shibam al Ghiras Kawkaban. The classical sources refer it to Shibam Bin Abdullah Bin Asaad Bin Jashem Bin Hashid and the town was renewed as Shibam Aqyan in attribution to Aqyan Bin Zaraah Bin Little Saba who is one of the Himyarite Kings. It was mentioned in old inscription as Shibam Yahbas. The ancient Yemenite Geographer referred to it as Shibam Yafur who resided in it and built citadels and walls in addition tom castles, houses, mosques and vapor baths in addition to markets. A lot of the facades of Shibam are built with old stones some of which are carrying Mousnad inscriptions and it altitude is 2300 above sea level. At present the remaining Islamic era related houses are distributed into religious building such as mosques, tombs, Civil building like the Old Central Market, the Customs Office Samsarat, Government Office Employees Hall and the Old vapor baths in addition to warlike building represented in the wall of the city, its gates, towers and all of them revert to the Yaafuride Dynasty which adopted Shibam as its Capital as of 829 Ad to 1100. It includes many archaeological and historical features of which are:
The big Mosque in Shibam
The big Mosque in Shibam Kowkaban reverts to the Yaafuride Dynasty as it was built by Mohammed Bin Yaafur in the third Hegira century, (9th Century AD) then it was further built till the demise of the Yaafuride Dynasty. The mosque was subjected for destruction till it was renewed at the commencement of the first Ottoman rule of Yemen. It is one of the most important features of the town.
The old Central Market:
It is located near the old mosque of the town as is the case in the first Islamic towns. It combines many markets as per the craft, profession and kind of goods.
Customs Office (Caravansary):
Located near to the big Mosque at the distance of almost 75 meters and is overlooking the central market of the city. It is building comprising of three storeys and was built by Mrs. Aminah Bint Abdul Kadir who conferred it as an Endowment for Shibam.
The Government Hall (Employees House):
It is located to the left of the incoming person through the main gate comprises of three storyes which went through many renovations, the latest of which was 1785AD.
The City Wall:
Shibam Kawkaban is fortified naturally, surrounded by the Mount of Kawkabn from three directions which can not be reached as for the remaining wall in the northern side of the city at the vicinity of the Old Bath, there are the remains of cylindrical towers, through which there are openings for arrow throwing.
The Entrance (The Main Gate of the City):
Shibam in the past had four Gates; none of them remains except the gate lying at the main road leading thereto. The renovation works were carried out for this gate, the latest of which is 1913 AD.
The Rock Cemeteries:
They are on the side of the mountain overlooking the city and they are looking like the graveyards of Shibam Al Ghiras, Wadi Dhahr and Dhofar Al Molk. The distance between it and the capital Sanaa is 40 kms. A weekly market is held in it every Friday. The neighboring areas it is overlooked and guarded by Kawkaban from the West frequent the market.
An ancient historical centers and a fortified citadel about 2800 m above sea level, the city is walled from the north and is fortified naturally from the other directions. It was a capital of Bani Sharaf Al-Deen in the 9th century AH (15 the century AD) . It is cauterized by beautiful architectural design. Most of its houses were destroyed in the past and were rebuilt. It was reputed as a school of music. It is said that it was named so because it had two palaces decorated with precious stones. Each of them was called a star (Literally Planet, so it is Kawkaban (two stars) attributed to these two palaces.
Two routes to Kawkaban:
Asphalt road car through the towns main gate. There is a second intriguing footpath up the mountain from Shibam for the walking fans. Kawkaban overlooking Shibam to the east and Wadi Al-Naeem to the west. There is a hotel (a traditional houses). Offering food and accommodation for the visitors of the town. There are a number of old reservoirs to store water in Kawkaban.
Trekking Track (Wadi Badookah):
The track starts from the top of Kawkaban mountain westwards either partially by car and then on foot or from the beginning on foot atop the plateau to Bukour village then turns southwards to the banks of wadi Badouqa, one of the largest perennial springs in Yemen flowing into wadi Al-Ahjer.
The track runs down streams wadi Al Ahjer it is one of the most beautiful tracks for trekkers it is a few hours walk.
The main Mountains and Forts in Al Mahwit are:
The Mountains of Bilad Ghail, on whose western sloping hill the city of Mahwit is located.
Hufash Mountains which is a big mountainous chain with an averages height.
Milhan Mountains which are aside Hufash Mountains from the western side.
Saraa and Ottoman Saraa Mountains which are other than Anis.
Qaihamah Mountain which is part of Hufash mountainous chain
Bani Saad Mountain on which there is Az-Zahir fort
Dhilaa Mountain which is known as Dhokhar Mountain and Kowkaban is located at its eastern extremity rising 280m above sea level.
Bani Hushaish Mountain which is historically known as Taiz.
Nidhar Mountain, Maez Mountain, which is now known as Shamat fort.
Shahidh Mountains which have remains of ponds, dykes and mosque with beautiful engravings proving that it was once upon time prosperous Shahidh Mountain are currently named Al Haijrah and Sanafah
Qarana Mountains overlooking At-Tawilah city which embrace the fort of Barash (Al Baqir) to the south of At-Tawilah city at a distance of 6km. It is considered of the invincible forts. The Qarana Mountains were known historically as Aknaf mountains.