21 February, 2011

Hadhramaut and its Districts

Hadhramout is a province of valleys, highlands, mountains, vast deserts, beautiful beaches and islands. Few valleys on Earth are as fertile as the Wady Hadhramaut, which extends from Wadi Al'Ain down to Seiyoun and Tarim, and down to the vast Empty Quarters; few deserts on Earth, are as spectacular and stunningly wonderful as the deserts of the Empty Quarters (Rub' El Khali) and those of Zamakh wa Mankwakh; few beaches are as golden and pure as those of Al'Dees and Al'Raedah wa Qusai; and which island on Earth is comparable to Soqotra?

Some times back, I asked several people in Mukalla, to give me the names of all the districts in Hadhramaut; I asked teachers and students too. I was very surprised that very few did know them. In fact, only one teacher and not a single student, could come up with the list; even after two weeks, none of those I asked seemed sure of what all the district names were. I was rather shocked. How could educators and even college students fail to know all the district names of the province they lived, worked or studied in; in which most of them were born in?

Hadhramout and district demarcations
 Here is the list of names of all the districts in Hadhramaut: Zamakh wa Manwakh, Qof al Awamer, Thamood, Rum'mah, Abr, Hajar Al Sai'ar, Al Qat'n, Shibam, Seiyoun, Tareem, Soum, Rakh'yah, Horaidha, Wady Al'Ayn, Sa'ah, Ghail Bin Yumain, Amd, Dhula'iah, Do'an, Yab'eth, Hajar, Broom, Al Mukalla, Ghail Bawazeer, Shae'her, Al Dees and Raidah wa Qusai. Socotra Island, which is a part of Hadhramout, has two districts: Qalansya and Hadibou.

Socotra Island
Few people, even in Hadhramout, know that the island of Soqotra is a part of the province. Hadhramaut, the largest province in area, in Yemen, has about every thing. Experts on agriculture, say that, Wady Hadhramout, if properly irrigated and managed, would not only feed the whole of Yemen, but the whole of the Arabian Peninsula and beyond; along Hadhramout's long coast-line, in the sea, is a rich, abundant variety of fish. There are many spectacular, magnificent deserts around the world, but few can match the wonder and magic of the deserts of Zamakh wa Manwakh and of Rub' Al  Khali; which are totally sandy, golden in color and in vast parts, reddish; with spectacular hills and rocks jutting out here and there over it, many times, while in these deserts, you would feel as if not on Earth, but as if on some alien planet. The beaches on the eastern side of the province, are utterly breathtaking and mesmerizing: the pure golden sand, the blue and some times green waters are gems that a very few get to see or be on. As for the Socotra Archipelago, it is so unique and extraordinary, that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

*For more on the Empty Quarters otherwise known as Rub' Al Khali, go here or the other very interesting articles, on the incredible desert, on the Saudi Aramco site. More photos of the Empty Quarters can be found on: National Geographic and Flickr.

*Click on the maps above to see them larger. Or you can download the map of Hadhramout, here, and view it even larger. After downloading, it is best if you view it using Windows Photo Viewer; better, with Windows 7.