24 November, 2013

Mukalla In Old Pictures

Mukalla, Hadhramout
Mukalla city is old. It was much smaller than other settlements nearby; but, has grown faster than nearby older towns and settlements to become the largest and most populous urban center in Hadhramout; it now has the largest airport and seaport in western Yemen. From the beginning, the sea has always been central and pivotal to Mukalla's development. From the beginning of the 11th Century, settlements started growing in Mukalla. People were mainly attracted by the sea and the protective mountains around.

Mukalla, Hadhramout
With abundant fish around and of a large variety, fishermen were the first to have settled in Mukalla.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
Reportedly, a large part of Hadhramaut, including Mukalla - was a part of Oman until the middle of the 11th Century.
Mukalla, Hadhramout
Mukalla was the capital of the Qu'aiti sultanate, which was a part of the Eastern Aden Protectorate, until 1967 when Hadhramout became a part of South Yemen.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
During the British run Eastern Aden Protectorate, a British Resident Adviser wаs stationed in Al Mukalla to work with the Sultan.
Mukalla, Hadhramout
In 1934, the British renowned traveler аnd explorer, Freya Stark, began her journey іntо the hinterland оf the Hadhramaut frоm Mukalla; her stay іn the city and her journey inland, іs recorded іn her book, The Southern Gates оf Arabia.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
It has always been as a fishing and sea port that the city has had the most influence from. To this day, many fishing boats can be seen at the same old port which is on the eastern side of the city, where boats and dhows still dock. And there are several fish canning factories in and around the city.
Mukalla, Hadhramout
As settlers increased, more and more permanent houses were built; first in the old part, Al Salaam, and then in Sha'erj, the western part. It is these two parts of the city that are still the most active and the most interesting.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
Most of the old photos of Mukalla available today, are those of the old part - Al Salaam.
Mukalla, Hadhramout
Although very sadly, many of the old houses and structures are being destroyed in Al Salaam, to this day, very little has changed of this old part.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
The streets are still narrow; men and women still walk these narrow streets dressed as they did long ago; men in sarongs and women still covered in black from head to toes. The above street has still the same structures.
Mukalla, Hadhramout
While the above and the below have changed. Unlike before, all the streets are now crowded an congested.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
Note the old buses above - most of the vehicles, then, were British made. Now, the streets are filled with Japanese, Korean and Chinese vehicles; almost all the motorcycles now on these streets are Chinese made. How time shapes and changes things! When these old photos were taken - who would have thought the Chinese would have such enormous economic influence today, in this part of the world?
Mukalla, Hadhramout
In the olden days religious ceremonies and occasions in Mukalla were very much influenced by the Sayyids. Commemorations, like the one above around a tomb, were common then.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
Then, the Sultans ruled and had absolute power; but, it was the British who were the most influential in shaping events.
Mukalla, Hadhramout
Most people were poor and venerated the Sultans and the Sayyids. The Sultans are gone, but the Sayyids are still very influential in Hadhramout; in Wadi Hadhramout in particular.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
With the British, football was introduced; to this day, it is still the most loved sports in Mukalla. In the evenings, boys and young men can be seen playing football in many parts of the city.
Mukalla, Hadhramout
Above: Sultan Ghalib II bin Awadh al-Qu'aiti. Next to him is a Britsih representative. Below, the Sultan attending a ceremony in in the courtyard of his palace.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
He reigned from 10 October 1966 until the monarchy was ousted by socialists on 17 September 1967 when the socialist took over and made Hadhramaut a part of South Yemen
Mukalla, Hadhramout
These soldiers, mainly from the gabails of Hadhramout, are Bedouin. Above and below, they are parading before the Sultan and the British representative.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
Ceremonies and parades with soldiers were very much a part of the British colonial system. Still, the British, unlike the French, in all parts they colonized or were influential in, very rarely interfered with indigenous people's cultures and traditions. 
Mukalla, Hadhramout
Above and below, the vaunted Land Rover and Bedfords very much part of the British presence and influence here, then.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
Above, a procession of soldiers on Land Rovers on the main street of Al Salaam. Today, Land Rovers and Britons, are very rare sights in the city.
Mukalla, Hadhramout
It is interesting that, as poor and as undeveloped as Hadhramout was in the olden days, houses and structures were built in an organized and orderly way - as above. Today, buildings and structures are put up in such haphazard, disorderly ways that there are very few roads; and traffic has become very congested.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
The sea, boats and fishing has and still is central to Mukalla. It is this wonderful sea, that will always continue being the main influence here.
Mukalla, Hadhramout
The airport of old, was influential, too, in shaping Mukalla. With time, air transport for passengers has over taken sea transport almost completely. Almost all who travel in to and out of Mukalla use the air now.  The airport at Riyyan that serves Mukalla, has been dilapidated for long. But, now, it is undergoing expansion and is being modernized.
Mukalla, Hadhramaut
Mukalla, in many ways, is still old. Though there are many modern structures - its people are still very traditional and conservative. A Picture Speaks Louder Than Words. The above old photos of this beautiful city, say much more about the old seaport than any written materials trying to describe the same about old Mukalla, out there.

+ More Old Photos Of Mukalla
+ Al Qu'aiti official website