Friday, 24 December 2010

Ancient city discovered in Yemen Socotra Island

Source: SABA, 24/12/2010

SANA'A-Russian archaeological team has unearthed an ancient city in Socotra Island, the state-run reported on Friday.

After four-year archaeological excavations, the Russian team managed to discover an ancient city called "Khajlah" and located near Hidibu city, the main city in the island.

The city is dated back to the second century AD, according to the team's expectation.

The team said that the remains of the exposed ancient houses, roads, alleys and squares indicated that the city had been an administrative, religious and cultural area for the entire island.

In a related context, the Tourist office in the island said that about 2,590 tourists visited Socotra last November.

Socotra is an archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago.

The island is very isolated and through the process of speciation, a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as the most alien-looking place on Earth.

Botanical field surveys led by the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants - part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh - indicate that 307 out of the 825 (37%) plant species on Socotra are endemic i.e. they are found nowhere else on Earth.

One of the most striking of Socotra's plants is the dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari), which is a strange-looking, umbrella-shaped tree. Its red sap was thought to be the dragon's blood of the ancients, sought after as a medicine and a dye.

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