Historic City of Kawkaban

Built upon a precipitous hilltop, was once the capital of the Yuʿfirids Muslim dynasty (847-997). It was also home to a Jewish community, until its demise in the mid-20th century

Al Mahwit, Yemen

Coordinates: 15.500020, 43.901235

Nearby Places

Kawkaban is a town located in Shibam Kawkaban District, Al Mahwit Governorate, Yemen.

It contains a fortified citadel of about 2,931 m (9,616 ft) above sea level.[1] The city is built upon a precipitous hilltop, walled from the north, and fortified naturally from the other directions.

Once it was home to a Jewish community until its demise in the mid-20th century.

The city affords a good prospect of the surrounding countryside. The meaning of the word kawkaban in Arabic means “two planets”.

The city features several old mosques: al Madrasa, al Mansoor, al Sharefa & Harabat. The old market is located in the middle of the city. Old rainwater reservoirs can also be seen in the fortified town, named Meseda, Alasdad, and Sedalhamam.

Effects from the Yemeni Civil War

In February 2016, as part of the Yemeni Civil War fighter jets from U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition struck the town citadel killing seven residents and destroying the historic gateway as well as the 700-year-old houses.


Image Sources

By Ljuba brank – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Ljuba brank – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Ljuba brank – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Ljuba brank – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Ljuba brank – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Adriano Bassignana – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,

By mwanasimba from La Réunion – Cloud over the roof of the world, CC BY-SA 2.0,

By Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia – Edge of Kawkaban, Yemen, CC BY-SA 2.0,