If you don’t visit anywhere else in Ta’iz, you must see this place. It was the palace of 3 generations of despotic rulers, who claimed to be descendants of the prophet.
The exhibits belong to the second one, Imam Ahmed Bin Yehya Hamiduddin, who ruled from 1948 and believed he was bullet proof – until he was shot in 1962. He kept hostages in the citadel to try to get their families to swear allegiance to him. The 3rd Imam, his son, only ruled for a week.
The exhibits include the Imam’s blood stained clothes from when he was shot, his electric bed which he was rocked to sleep in, a collection of mont blanc pens, an etch-a-sketch and furniture and artefacts from daily life. Among the most impressive is the perfume room which contains an incredible collection of oils and perfumes ranging from old Arabic oils and bath and massage preparations to packaged modern classic perfumes Chanel, Ma Griffe, Nina Ricci, Dior, Givenchy – all in massive bottles.
You can’t take photographs in the palace and the guides only speak Arabic.
The exterior is also very beautiful.
Originally built by the Rasulids, but also used by the Ottomans for defence, castle Qalat al-Qahira is perched high up on a hill overlooking the city.
You cannot go inside but it is worth a quick look and you get good views of the city of Ta'iz.
The suq in Ta'iz is really pretty with blue awnings and is well laid out with goods from the region – coffee, basketware, breads and cheeses as well as jewellery and pottery.
It is pleasant to walk around as it is quite spacious and has a very relaxed atmosphere.
The Al Ashrafiya mosque was built by the Rasulids in 628 and rebuilt in the 12th and 13th centuries. It is currently being restored with World Heritage funds. The restoration is expected to take many years and cost 2 million euros.
It has 2 minarets and a Madrassa, with a large and impressive dome over the Northern prayer hall. It is highly decorative inside on the shutters, ceilings and windows.
The main entrance is close to the mountains, we went in by the city entrance.
The castle which hangs over the city is an enormous piece of military engineering and is currently being restored, expense seemingly no object. As can be seen from the photo on my ta'izz page it has several concentric rings of defensive walls, crowned by a castle which is unfortunately still used by the military and is therefore off-limits. As impressive as the walls are the vast cisterns built to ensure that shortage of water would not be a problem in case of seige.
And of course the views are stupendous.
This mosque complex with its utterly distinctive twin white minarets was founded by the founder of the Rasulid dynasty in the thirteenth century.
Unlike most other mosques in Yemen, it is actually possible to enter this one if you are not a muslim, and although one can only actually enter the madrasa and the royal mausoleum you can poke your head into the prayer hall and see the interior decoration. This is in course of restoration by an Italian team: there are small patches where the paintwork had been cleaned revealing bright colours that lie beneath the thick layer of dirt that has turned the interior almost black.
Al-Ashrafiya Mosque constructed in 628 with beautiful twin minarets located at end of old town in Ta'izz.
Qalat-al Qahira, the old citadel and the governor's palace that rests on top of a mountain spur 450 metres above the city centre.
A good place to watch and photograph the Sunset over the Jebel Saber mountains and the city of Ta'iz is the pool terrace of the Sofitel.
Sunset in November is around 6 oclock.