Beit El Fakih
BEIT EL FAKIH (i.e., House of time Saint), an unwalled town in Arabia, in the province of Yemen, 77 miles N.E. of Mocha, and about 17 from the coast, in 43° 23' E. long., 13' 32' N. lat. It is situated on a barren, sandy plain, protected against the predatory incursions of the Arabs by a castle, in which the governor resides. It was founded in the 17th century by the inhabitants of the seaboard town of Alafaka, who were led to seek a new settlement from their once famous harbour being rendered useless by coral banks ; and it soon became the greatest seat of the coffee-trade in the world. The prosperity of the city was considerably diminished under the Wahabees and Mehemet Ali of Egypt, though even during his domination it is stated to have had 30,000 inhabitants. It is still engaged in the coffee-trade, and also deals in incense, gum, and pearls. Most of the common houses are mere grass-roofed huts, but here and there are ancient stone buildings. The most remarkable of these is the mosque of Akhmed-lbn-Musa, which is older than the city itself. The principal ports at which the exports are shipped are Lohaya, about 32 miles N.W., and Hodeida, 37 miles S. Population, 8000.