Zabid is a town with an urban population of around 23,000 persons on Yemen's western coastal plain. The town, named after Wadi Zabid, the wadi (or valley) to its south, is one of the oldest towns in Yemen. It was the capital of Yemen from the 13th to the 15th century and a center of the Arab and Muslim World due in large part to its famed University of Zabid and being a center of Islamic education.
It was the capital of the Ziyadid dynasty from 819–1018 and the Najahid dynasty from 1022–1158. Today, however, it is at the intellectual and economic margins of modern Yemen. Zabid has been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Its Great Mosque occupies a prominent place in the town. The vestiges of its university can also be visited.
Threats to Zabid
In 2000, Zabid was listed on the List of World Heritage in Danger; the listing was made on the behest of the Yemeni government due to a state of poor upkeep and conservation. According to a UNESCO report, roughly "40% of the city's houses have been replaced by concrete buildings, and other houses and the ancient souk are in a deteriorating state. If the city has not begun preservation of its cultural heritage within two years of its inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it faces possible loss of this vaunted status.