Taiz was the capital of Yemen for over 200 years, until the capital moved to Sanaa in the 15th century. Located in Ta'izz governorate, in southwest Yemen, Taiz lies at the base of Sabir Mountain. It remains one of the largest Yemeni cities in modern times, and offers those visiting a variety of attractions.
The summit of Sabir Mountain stands at just over 10,000 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest peaks in Yemen. Taiz spreads out in the foothills of the mountain, and visitors can gain some impressive views of the peak from the city. A road leads from Taiz to the top of the mountain, providing a convenient means of reaching the summit. A trip to the mountaintop provides panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside, and sights along the way include fruit and flower sellers in traditional Yemeni dress.
Al-Ashraf I began building the Al Ashrafiyya Mosque in the late 13th century, with further work completed by Al-Ashraf II during the 14th century. The mosque stands out from the city surroundings as a result of its whitewashed walls and two tall minarets. Visitors can view the exterior of the mosque from the city streets around it, as well as enter and view the interior features. These include the royal tombs of the Al-Ashraf family, as well as decorative wall murals and paintings.
Imam Ahmed took Taiz as the seat of his power over a 14-year period until his death in 1962. The palace in which the Imam lived during this time now operates as a museum, and visitors can tour the palace and view objects and artifacts from his life, including items he received as gifts from dignitaries and heads of state. One of the more unusual exhibits displays bloodstained garments worn by the Imam when he was shot and injured, an act which dispelled his claims to have magical powers making him immune to bullets.
Standing on the slopes of Sabir Mountain, Al-Qahira Castle's construction dates back to the 15th century. Its fortified walls and prominent location, standing high over Taiz, made it a strategically important fortress for the rulers of the city, who used the castle as both a stronghold for their safety and a prison for their enemies. Tourists can gain a view of the castle from the surrounding city, as well as tour the interior rooms and halls.
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