"Smells of Jasmine" Zabid by queenpud

Zabid Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 66 photos

The city

The air was full of sweet jasmine. Street vendors sold bundles of the fragrant flowers. The bright flowers were also strung into necklaces. They were irresistible.
UNESCO, has declared Zabid as a World Heritage Site and has funded excavations of the old schools. Visitors can enter the ruins of the ancient university and inspect the intricate designs formed from the mud bricks. Several old buildings had evidence of Jewish influence, with the six pointed Star of David incorporated in the architectural scheme and decor.


Zabid was founded in 820 AD by the Abbasids under Muhammad ibn Ziyad, emissary of the caliph al-Ma'mun. It was the capital of Yemen from the 13th to the 15th century, and was the center of an influential Islamic school and the famed University of Zabid. Named after its first governor and founder, Zabid was one of the first to convert to Islam during the lifetime of Prophet Mohammed.

This was once a walled city. The remaining gates to the citadel are still intact and serve as a main entrance to the maze of narrow streets in the city interior. Sheep and goats roam the dusty streets while young children play in brightly colored dresses.


Outside the walls of the city there is abundant agriculture. Archaeological evidence suggests that farming has been ongoing for many millennia. Zabid borders the coffee region of Yemen and a major part of the market still trades in this crop.

  • Intro Updated Oct 3, 2007
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