17/10/2005 Issue 143 Past Issues

Red Sea Newsletter

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Feature Article ... Yemen

Al-HODEIDAH: Bride of the Red Sea
Compiled by: Yasser Al-Mayasi Eshraq Al-Bodigi
Yemen Times Staff


Al-Hodeidah is the most famous harbor of Yemen in the Red Sea and a widely known fishing region throughout the history of mankind. It was used during the 15th century as a ship-fleet depot after it expanded from a small village to a local port. Later, one of the Sultans defeated the Portuguese, and made the port free of their control. In 1961, the port was re-constructed according to modern standards.
The important sites of the province are:

Beit-al-Fakeih: Situated 60 km from Al-Hodeidah on Taiz-Hodeidah road, this was during the seventeenth and eighteenth century the storage station of the coffee crop, which used to be exported from Al-Mokha harbor. During those periods, the town prospered through expansion of its dwellings and variations of its activities. Christine Yanbour, a famous foreign explorer in 1763 A.D. described it by writing, “It was the biggest commercial market in the world for coffee”. He saw numerous businessmen of Europe in it, together with, others from Persia, Turkey, Morocco, India and other countries, undertaking commercial transactions. It is distinctive in its buildings as it is constructed out of plain red bricks. Its people are known to wear short skirts known locally “Al-Lahaf”, which are the male costumes of the inhabitants living in all coastal regions of the two Asian and African continents.

Zabid: It is an important town that once played a big role in the political and educational history of Yemen, situated south of the province about 100 km far away. It is only 18 km of a distance from the nearest coast of the Red Sea. The name of the town originated from Wadi Zabid, which crosses the whole town and when in flood, flows across the city and into the Red Sea. Its architecture is a distinctive product of Al-Zaydiah State’s rulers, who re-constructed the town during the ninth century. The town originally was fenced all around with a wall of four main gates. This wall is still in good condition, while the gates are partially kept within their former pattern for the last two hundred years. The town of Zabid is one of the most famous religious and scientific centers, not only of Yemen, but also all over the Islamic world. It is known to be the center of education and scholars and still a city renowned for its Islamic schools and universities, which go back as far as 802 AC. Zabid was a center for the weaving, dyeing and tanning industries, famous for textiles manufacturing, and used to have more than 300 dyeing industries of which only a few remain and on a very small scale. Other known historical structures of the town are the “Ashari Mosque” namely related to Abu Moosa Al-Ashari, one of prophet Mohammed’s companions, the Medina Souq, and Zabid tourist castle.

Manakha: It is 120 km to the west of the capital and 135 km away from Hodeidah; it is the center of Haraz region with the 3000 m high mountain, Djabel Shibam. Manakha itself is situated between these mountains and it was an important straight for the Ottoman Empire. In Manakha, architecture and landscape are in harmony; it has a fascinating architectural style and old souq (market).
Heis: It is situated southwest of Al-Hodeidah on the Taiz road, and is 28 km away of the coast. It used to be the commercial spot of coffee at the time of Al-Mokha port’s prosperity. The same pattern and architectural style of Zabid also constructed it. It was also famous for industrial manufacturing of clay pots and kitchenwares.

Al-Khukha: Al-Khukha is a fishermen’s village, which boasts one of the most beautiful tourist beaches on the Red Sea, decorated by palm groves. Even more interesting in Al-Khukha is the fact that wherever you dig a hole in the sand, you will find fresh water. There is a tourist village in the area and many tourists prefer to stay in Al-Khukha for one or two nights. Sleeping outside under the palm trees with the stars as your roof definitely is an experience.

Al-Sukhnah: It is a mineral swimming bath that was used once by Imam Ahmed, the last pre-republic ruler, as his personal resort. He also built his own palace around this resort. During winter seasons, the inhabitants now come to this bath for curing their skin illnesses.

Souq Al-Khamis: About 40 km to the northeast of Al-Luhayya and a couple of km off the main road is a small village that seems completely desolate for most of the week. The name of the village, Souq Al-Khamis, literally means “Thursday Market”, a market place with very few permanent dwellers. It serves the people of Hajour, Al-Sharafayn and Hajjah.On Thursday mornings the village swarms with hundreds of traders and their customers.

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News - arround the Red Sea

Operator pulls out of controversial resort
By Simon Rogerson

A prominent tour operator has pulled out of a Red Sea hotel complex after its managers were censured for destroying a large area of reef. An area of approximately 10,000 square metres of coral in front of the Kahramana Hotel has been destroyed in order to provide better swimming facilities for guests.

The move has prompted furious responses from conservationists and Red Sea visitors, who have asked their tour operators to stop supporting the hotel. Surrey-based Tony Backhurst Scuba Travel recently issued a statement saying it was withdrawing its business and would instead send its southern Egypt clients to new resorts close to Port Galib.

‘The reef is a vital resource and one we should preserve,’ Backhurst told DIVE. ‘We simply cannot continue to support an organisation which treats the Red Sea in this manner.’

Workmen used industrial diggers to clear coral limestone from the site until Egyptian marine park rangers arrived and ordered them to halt. According to Karim Helal, of Red Sea Association, Egypt’s general prosecutor is now preparing a case against the Kahramana.

The Red Sea governor, general Saad Abu Rida, has reported the Kahramana’s management to the Egyptian prosecutor’s office with a recommendation to fine him one million Egyptian pounds (around £98,000). However, email campaigner and seasoned Red Sea instructor Nigel Jarvis has warned that a simple fine would allow other hotel owners to budget the fine against the cost of providing direct sea access for their guests.

‘The only way in which the diving market can voice its protest against this destruction being repeated by other hotel developers – and practically the whole coast line is allocated for development – is to boycott any hotel at which this environmental scandal is repeated.’ Tony Backhurst said he will now send his guests to the Millennium Coral Beach and Coraya Beach Resorts at Port Galib.

News - arround the Red Sea

Five wrecks found in the Red Sea
By Simon Rogerson

Five new wrecks were located in the Gulf of Suez on an expedition run by wreck hunter Peter Collings and members of Bromley BSAC. It is thought that this was the first time a group of divers has ventured so far north into the Gulf, a notorious area for shipwrecks.

In all, five wrecks were located, including the Second World War tanker Scalaria, a victim of aerial bombardment in 1942. At 122m, it is one of the largest diveable wrecks in the Red Sea. The other wrecks dived were:

• The Aboudy, a 76m-long Egyptian cargo ship that foundered off Ras Gharib in 1988. The wreck lies on its port side, and much of the original cargo can still be found – for those who are interested in bottles of cough medicine. The wreck is popular with schooling barracuda.

• The Alita, a 1,365-tonne Maltese vessel, which sank when her cargo shifted on a voyage from Thessaloniki to Sudan in 1988.

• The Bakr, a survey vessel belonging to the United Arab Republic Petroleum company. It sank after being hit by Israeli missiles in 1973 during the Yom Kippur war. The Russian-built ship is about 44m long.

‘These new finds, coupled with wrecks we already know about at Ashrafi, Ras Shukier and Ras Dib, give divers a new and exciting wreck itinerary well away from the crowded sites of the Sinai,’ said Collings.






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What's on ... in Egypt

Abu Simbel Sun Festival- Aswan, Egypt
Temple of Abu Simbel once again lights up on the 22nd of October in celebration of Ramses II’s birthday.

Abu Simbel, the two rock-cut temples of Ramses II erected on about 250 km, southeast of Aswan, is one of the most famous Egyptian archaeological sites that attract thousands of tourists.

It was discovered by Jean-Louis Burckhardt in 1813. The facade of the temple is dominated by four colossal seated figures of Ramses II who was one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs.

The great temple is precisely aligned that twice a year (during February and October) the rising sun illuminates the sanctuary and seated statues at the rearmost point of the temple. This rare phenomenon which coincided with Ramses II’s birthday and enthronement day, took place on October 22, with thousands of tourists holding their breath while watching the 23 minute ray of sun at 5.53 a.m.

Director of Abu Simbel Temple, Archaeologist Atteya Radwan said that the tourists' entrance into the temple was thoroughly organised. "We organised them in accordance with directives of the Higher Council of Antiquities to protect the site from the dangers of crowds," he said. He added that a folk art festival was held in Abu Simbel area to mark the occasion. He pointed out that folk art troupes presented performances showing the process on how to salvage the monument endangered by Lake Nasser.

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A delicious first-course dish, brimming with color and flavor. The combination of zucchini, chicken and tomatoes makes the Mini Tortiglioni very appetizing and absolutely irresistible.


Mini Tortiglioni Barilla 350 g
Tomatoes 150 g
Chicken breast 100 g
Cream 100 g
Medium-sized zucchini
Extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons
Onion 1/2
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste


1. Finely chop the onion and gently fry it in the oil, add the chicken diced fairly small and cook for about 3 minutes. Dice the zucchini finely and add them to the chicken.

2. Peel the tomatoes and take the seeds out, dice them finely and then add them to the chicken and zucchini ragout. After cooking for about 5 minutes add the cream.

3. Cook the Mini Tortiglioni Barilla in plenty of salted water, drain and stir in the sauce.


To make peeling the tomatoes easier, put them briefly into boiling water.
To make the dish even tastier, you can use lean pork instead of chicken breast.

Tips for the family
For a dish that's a bit lighter, but just as appetizing, you can use low-fat yogurt instead of the cream, or, as another way of avoiding the cream, you run the tomatoes through the blender rather than cutting them into cubes.

The magnesium provided by the ingredients in this tasty recipe contributes to ensuring a healthy organism; niacin, also known as vitamin PP, belongs to the B group of vitamins and plays a fundamental metabolic role in the production of precious energy.


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