Travels in Arabia, by John Lewis Burckhardt


No. I.

Stations of the Pilgrim Caravan, called the “Hadj el Kebsy,” through the mountainous country between Mekka and Sanaa in Yemen.


1st day. Shedád; some coffee-huts.

2. Kura, a small village on the summit of the mountain so called.

3. Tayf.

4. Abbasa, in the district of the Thekyf Arabs.

5. Melawy Djedára, district of the Beni Sad Arabs.

6. Mekhra, district of the Naszera Arabs. The principal village of the Beni Sad tribe is Lagham, and of the Naszera tribe, Sour; distant one day N. of the farthest limits of Zohran. In this district is also the fortified village of Bedjeyle.

7. Esserrar, of the Thekyf Arabs.

8. Berahrah, on the N. extremity of Zohran, a district inhabited by Arabs of the same name. This Zohran is one of the most fertile countries in the mountainous chain, although its villages are separated from each other by intervals of barren rock. It is inhabited by the Zohran tribes of Beni Malek and Beni Ghamed. The Zohran chief, Bakhroudj, having bravely resisted Mohammed Aly Pasha, was taken by surprise, in March 1815, and cruelly cut to pieces by that Turkish general’s order.

9. Wady Aly, in the same district.

10. Meshnye, on the S. borders of Zohran.

11. Raghdán, a market-place of the Ghamed Arabs.

12. Korn el Maghsal, of the Ghamed Arabs.

13. Al Záhera, of the same Arabs. These two tribes of Zohran and Ghamed possess the Hedjaz (viz. the mountains) and adjoining districts in Tehama, or the Western plain towards the sea, as well as the Eastern upper plain. The chief place of the Ghamed tribe is Mokhowa, a town not to be confounded with Mokha.

14. El Roheyta, of the powerful tribe of Shomrán.

15. Adama, of the Shomrán Arabs.

16. Tabala, of the Shomrán Arabs, who extend over both sides of the mountains in the W. and E. plain.

17. El Hasba, market of the Shomrán Arabs.

18. El Asábely, a village of the Asábely tribe.

19. Beni Shefra, a market-place of the tribe so called, formerly united with the Asábelys, but formed by the Wahaby chief into a distinct tribe.

20. Shat Ibn Aryf.

21. Sedouán: this place and Shat Ibn Aryf are inhabited by Arabs of the tribe called Ahl Aryef.

22. El Matfa.

23. Ibn Maan, which with El Matfa belong to the Ibn Katlan Arabs.

24. Ibl, in the territory of the powerful tribe of Asyr.

25. Ibn el Shayr, of the Asyr tribe.

26. Dahban, of the Kahtan Arabs, one of the most powerful tribes of the Eastern Desert.

27. Derb Ibn el Okeyda, a wady inhabited by the Refeydha tribe, who belong to the Asyr. They are strong in horses.

28. Derb Selmán, of the Refeydha tribe.

29. Wakasha, of the Abyda Arabs. In the district of Abyda is the town of Aryn, in a very fertile territory. From Aryn southward the Arabs keep on the mountains a few camels, but many sheep and goats, and are what the Bedouins call Shouáwy, or Ahl Sháh, or Ahl Bul.

30. Wady Yaowd, of the Abyda Arabs.

31. Howd Ibn Zyad, of the Abyda Arabs.

32. Thohran, a district and market-place of the tribe of Wadaa.

33. Keradb, of the Wadaa tribe.

34. Rogháfa, of the Sahhar Arabs.

35. Dohyán, of the Sahhar Arabs.

36. Sada, of the Sahhar tribe. From Sada the caravan, or Hadj el Kebsy, takes its departure; it is so called from the Emir, or chief of the Hadj, who is styled Kebsy. The pilgrims from all the interior parts of Yemen assemble at Sada: it is a large town, but much decayed, famous in Arabia Felix as the birth-place of Yabya Ibn Hosseyn, chief promoter of the sect of Zeyd, which has numerous adherents in that country. Of late a new saint has appeared at Sada; he is called Seyd Ahmed, and is much revered by the Zyoud, or sect of Zeyd, who entitle him Woly, or Saint, even during his life. Sada is governed by Arabs: the Wahaby influence extended thus far. From Sada towards Sanaa the country is inhabited by Arabs, under the dominion of the Imám of Sanaa.

37. Aashemye, of the Sofyan tribe.

38. A market-place, or Souk, of the Bekyl Arabs.

39. Another market-place of the same tribe. The Bekyl and Háshed Arabs of this district serve in the army of the Imám of Sana; many of them go to India, and are preferred by the native princes there to any other class of soldiers: Tipoo Saheb had several hundred of them in his service. They generally embark at Shaher, in Hadramaut; and their chief destination at present is Guzerat and Cutch.

40. Ghoulet Adjyb, of the Háshed Arabs.

41. Reyda, of the Omran Arabs.

42. Ayal Soráh, of the Hamdan tribe.

43. Sanaa. From Mekka to Sanaa, forty-three days’ very slow travelling: for most of the pilgrims perform the whole journey on foot.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51