Aden takes a special place in Yemen. It is the largest port, the economic capital, and it was the former capital of the Democratic Republic of Yemen which ceased to exist in 1990. It is different from any other part of Yemen, both in athmosphere and in location. Its setting is spectacular, a huge bay and an island consisting of volcanoes that are not active anymore. Its location is highly strategic, which means Aden has alwasy drawn attention from powers trying to control entry into the Red Sea bassin. This has done Aden both good and bad, as the city has been besieged many times.
Aden actually is a collection of towns, of which Crater is just one. It is the biggest and oldest, surrounded bu lava rock which gave it is name. Walking around in Crater reveals the international nature of this town both in people and buildings, another difference from the much more homogenous towns and cities elsewhere in Yemen. One of the sights to see here, apart from a seemingly abandoned Pizza Hut, are the cisterns. Also known as the Aden Tanks, these enormous cisterns were constructed to store water which would allow the city to survive sieges. But due to erratic rainfall, they are seldomly filled with water. When I visited, it was very hot and humid and walking up was a sweaty business.
The English renovated them in the 19th century, but they now no longer serve as such. Instead, they have become an attraction, especially appealing because it is possible to walk into them and explore also the tanks higher up on the mountain. From the sounds and scenes of Crater, you can be all by yourself in what looks like a canyon in a matter of half an hour. You are rewarded with a view over Crater. When I was finally back at the entrance, I was very happy to find a street stall selling drinks because I had finished all my water.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Crater (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Crater.
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