Taiz (Arabic: تَعِزّ, romanized: Taʿizz) is a city in southwestern Yemen. It is located in the Yemeni Highlands, near the port city of Mocha on the Red Sea, at an elevation of about 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) above sea level. It is the capital of Taiz Governorate. With a population of over 600,000 in 2005, it is the third largest city in Yemen after the capital Sana'a and the southern port city of Aden.
|Elevation||1,400 m (4,600 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (Yemen Standard Time)|
Due to the ongoing campaign as part of Yemen's civil war, Taiz is a battleground and a war zone. Once known as the "cultural capital of Yemen", the war has bestowed a new title, "city of snipers".
The 14th century traveller Ibn Battuta visited Taiz:
We went on ... to the town of Taʻizz, the capital of the king of Yemen, and one of the finest and largest towns in that country. Its people are overbearing, insolent, and rude, as is generally the case in towns where kings reside. Taʻizz is made up of three quarters; the first is the residence of the king and his court, the second, called ʽUdayna, is the military station, and the third, called al-Mahálib, is inhabited by the commonalty, and contains the principal market.
Taiz was ruled by Turan-Shah, the older brother of Saladin, after he had conquered Yemen in 1173 CE. Turan-Shah built the citadel on the hill overlooking the old city. In 1175 CE, Taiz was made the capital of Yemen as it was incorporated into dominions of the Ayyubid dynasty by Turan-Shah.
The second Rasulid King, Almaddhafar (1288 CE), established Taiz as the second capital of the Rasulid Dynasty after Zabid. In 1332 Ibn Battutah visited Taiz and described it as one of the largest and most beautiful cities of Yemen.
In 1918 the Ottomans lost Taiz to the newly independent Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen.
Taiz remained a walled city until 1948, when Imam Ahmed made it the second capital of Yemen, allowing for expansion beyond its fortified wall. In the 1960s, the first purified water system in Yemen was opened in Taiz. In 1962, state administrations moved back to Sana'a.
Yemeni uprising and warEdit
As part of the 2015 Yemeni Civil War, on 22 March 2015, the Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh took the city in the aftermath of their coup d'état in Sanaa. The city became the site of a military confrontation between Houthis and the forces loyal to Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The city was effectively under siege and the United Nations warned of an "extreme and irreversible" food shortage if fighting continued. In August 2015, Yemeni Member of Parliament Muhammad Muqbil Al-Himyari reported Houthi attacks on civilians in Taiz and appealed for help on Suhail TV (Yemen).
The 2015 confrontation expanded into a military campaign for control of this strategic city. Despite ceasefires and prisoner swaps, the battle continues to this day and the city has been described as a "volatile front line." The frontline runs through the city from east to west, and journeys across the frontline that once took 5 minutes now take 5 hours.
Taiz has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSh). The average daily temperature high during August is 32.5 °C (90.5 °F). Annual rainfall of Taiz is around 600 millimetres (24 in), but on Jabal Sabir it is probably around 1,000 millimetres (39.4 in) per year.
|Climate data for Taiz|
|Average high °C (°F)||24.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||17.7
|Average low °C (°F)||11.1
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||9
|Source 1: Hydrological Sciences|
|Source 2: Journal of Environmental Protection|
The city has many old quarters, with houses that are typically built with brown bricks, and mosques are usually white. Most famous among the mosques are the Ashrafiya, the Muctabiya and the Mudhaffar. Also memorable are the old citadel and the governor's palace that rests on top of a mountain spur 450 m (1,480 ft) above the city centre. It also has one of the best-known mountains in Yemen, Jabal Saber, almost 3,000 metres (1.9 miles) above sea level), which affords panoramic views over the city.
Historically, the mountainous city of Taiz was known for coffee production. The Mocha coffee produced in Taiz was considered some of the finest in the region in the early 20th century. Today, coffee remains a major part of the economy but mango, pomegranate, citrus, banana, papai, vegetables, cereals, onions, and qat are also grown in the surrounding landscapes. Taiz is also known for its cheese. It is produced in rural areas like Araf, Awshaqh, Akhuz, Bargah, Barah, Jumah, Mukyas, Suayra, Kamb and Hajda and sold in Bab al-Kabeer and Bab Musa markets.
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- Al-Buhairi, Mahyoub H.; "Analysis of Monthly, Seasonal and Annual Air Temperature Variability and Trends in Taiz City - Republic of Yemen"; in Journal of Environmental Protection, 2010 (1) ; pp. 401-409
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- Yementourism.com, http://www.yementourism.com/services/touristguide/detail.php?ID=2044
- "Say Yemeni Cheese!".
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Media related to Ta'izz at Wikimedia Commons