The first city that will appear before you after a long trip from Marib across the sands will be Shabwa. The first settlement was founded here in the 13th century BC. e. Later, Shabwa became the capital of the kingdom of Hadhramaut and its main religious center, where dozens of temples were built. To this day, the ruins of the city walls, the royal palace and several temples have been preserved in the city. At 100 km south of Shabwa, the city of Atak is interesting, which is the administrative center of the province of Shabwa. In 1984, a museum was opened in Ataka, which contains finds dating back to the time of the kingdom of Hadhramaut.
The next stop on the way is the famous city of Shibam. This is a city of clay skyscrapers, the oldest on the planet, because of which the name “Manhattan of the desert” stuck behind Shibam. It is believed that Shibam was founded in the 2nd century AD. It stands on a 30 m high hill and from a distance looks like a castle growing in the middle of the desert. The city consists of houses built of unbaked clay bricks, having from 5 to 11 floors and located close to each other, so that one can get from house to house through the roofs. About 500 Shibam buildings reach a height of 30 m, and some of them are about 500 years old. For its unique architecture in 1982, Shibam was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Program.
According to Top-mba-universities,20 km east of Shibam is the largest city in the valley – Sayun . From the 15th century Sayun is the capital of the Masila River Valley. The city is surrounded by palm groves and orchards. The main attraction of Sayun is the palace of Sultan Al-Katiri, where the Museum of Local Lore was opened in 1936.
10 km east of Sayun is the tomb of the prophet Issa – the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad. The tomb is located on a mountain and dates back to the 10th century AD. A road was laid along the slope of the mountain, which leads to its foot, where the mosque stands. Many pilgrims come here every year.
30 km east of Sayun is the city of Tarim, which is up to Sayun was the main city of the Masila River Valley, and therefore its main trading center. Since then, entire merchant clans have been living in Tarim. In ancient times, Tarim was known as one of the most important Islamic centers of learning, and even today, hundreds of mosques and Koran schools have survived in the city. Tarim is home to the early 20th century El Mihdar Mosque, whose minaret is 60 meters high and is the tallest minaret in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, the Sheikh Ali Mosque, considered the city’s most beautiful mosque, and the country’s second largest library, Al-Aqaf.
No less interesting is the coast of Hadhramaut province. It is known for its hot springs and sandy beaches. The largest city on the coast and the provincial capital is the city of Mukalla. It is located about 330 km south of Sayuna. In the city and its environs there are hotels with beaches where you can have a great rest. Also in Mukalla there are opportunities for diving and fishing. 120 km west of Mukalla, in the vicinity of the fishing village of Bir Ali, are the ruins of the ancient port of Kan. In ancient times, Kanna was the main trading port of the kingdom of Hadhramaut. The remains of a once prosperous port city can be seen on the western shore of Bir Ali Bay. On the other side of the bay there is an extinct volcano Karif, which can be climbed. Sandy beaches stretch along the coast of the bay, and they consist of both white sand and volcanic black sand. Sulfur hot springs are located near the village of Bir Ali. Radum.
60 km east of Mukalla, the ancient port city of Shikhir is interesting, which during the reign of the Rasulids was surrounded by a fortress wall. The surroundings of Shihira are full of hot sulfur springs. The most famous of them Al-Khouma – are located 20 km to the west. The springs are located in an earth fault 12 m deep and 30 m in diameter. Their waters are used to treat dermatitis, diabetes, obesity, rheumatism and diseases of the digestive system. Also in the vicinity of Shikhir are the springs of Tavbala, Hami, Cyber and Eastern Dees.
Hadhramawt Province also includes the Socotra archipelago. Socotra Archipelagois located in the Arabian Sea, 350 km south of the coast of the Arabian Peninsula and 80 km east of the Somali Cape Guardafui. The total area of the archipelago is 3660 sq. km. Its largest island – Socotra – has an area of 3625 square meters. km, length – 130 m and width – 40 km. The archipelago also includes three small islands of Samkha, Abd el-Kuri and the uninhabited Darsa and two tiny uninhabited islands of Sabunia and Kaal Faraun, which are rocks towering above the water. For several million years, the Socotra archipelago isolated from the mainland. During this time, a unique animal and plant world has formed on the local islands, for which they are often called the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. 37% of the 825 plant species, 95% of the terrestrial mollusks, 90% of the reptiles and 70% of the birds found here are found nowhere else in the world. In the waters surrounding the archipelago, there are 253 species of corals, 300 species of crabs and lobsters, 730 species of fish and such large marine life as sperm whales, pilot whales, long-snouted whales, bottlenose dolphins, whale sharks and rays. In 2008, for its uniqueness, the Socotra archipelago was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Local residents – Socotrians – are also unique, they are the descendants of mixed marriages of Arabs, Indians, Ethiopians, Greeks, Portuguese, Somalis and British, who arrived in the archipelago at different times. Soctorians have their own language – Socotri, belonging to the ancient Semitic group of languages. Most of the island of Socotra is occupied by a limestone plateau with many karst formations. In its northeastern part, the plateau passes into the Hagier Mountains, the highest point of which – Mount Hajar – has a height of 1525 m. Narrow plains with beaches stretch along the coast of the island. Tourists arriving in Socotra are offered hiking in the Hagier mountains, towering over the city of Hadibu, the slopes of which are covered with forests, ornithological tours through mountain valleys and coasts, visits to numerous caves and boat trips to small rocky islands of the archipelago, which have chosen a wide variety of bird species. Socotra Island also attracts lovers of beach holidays, diving, windsurfing and kiting. But it is worth remembering that the infrastructure here is poorly developed, so you need to plan your trip in advance: even before arriving on the island, contact local guides, book hotels, and also have all the necessary equipment for water sports with you.