Ta'izz or Taiz (تعز) is a city in the Yemeni Highlands, near the famous Mocha port on the Red Sea, lying at an elevation of about 1,400 metres above sea level, with 460,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate). It is the capital of Ta'izz Governorate. It also contains ancient Jewish Sharab.
Ta'izz has a dramatic setting where the roads run up and down the mountain sides. Above the city rises the 3,006 metre high Sabir mountain.
The city has many old and beautiful quarters, with houses that are typically built with brown bricks, and mosques are usually white. Most famous among the mosques are the Ashrafiya, the Muctabiya and the Mudhaffar. Also memorable are the old citadel and the governor's palace that rests on top of a mountain spur 450 metres above the city centre.
Ta'izz has many road connections with the rest of the country. The city is served by Ta'izz International Airport.
The economic base of Ta'izz is coffee, grown in the surrounding landscape together with the mild narcotic qat and other vegetables. Among the city's own industries are cotton-weaving, tanning and production of jewellery. Ta'izz cheese is also renowned throughout Yemen.
The name of the city appeared first at the 6th century of Hijra, 12th CE, when Turan Shah, the brother of Salah ad-Din, arrived in Yemen in the year 1173 CE. Taiz was refortified by Salah ad-Din’s brother, Taktakeen, the Ayyubid.
The second Rasulid King, Almaddhafar (1288 CE), established Taiz as the second capital of the Rasulid Dynasty after Zabid.
Ibn Battutah visited Taiz in the fourteenth century and described it as one of the largest and most beautiful cities of Yemen.
Taiz remained a walled city until 1948 when Imam Ahmed made it the second capital of Yemen, allowing for expansion beyond its fortified wall.
Taiz today is the largest industrial base in Yemen, thanks to the huge investment of the Hayel Saeed group, yet it did not lose its historical charm.
The weather in Taiz is fair and beautiful most of the time. It tends to be slightly cold in the early morning and late evening. The average temperature during daylight time in October is 32°C.
1500 (approximately): The capital is moved to Sanaa by the ruler of the Taharid dynasty.
1516: Ta'izz comes under Ottoman control.
1918: The Ottomans lose Ta'izz to the new independent Yemen.
1948: Ta'izz becomes the administrative capital of Yemen, as it is made the residence of the imam.
1962: State administrations move back to Sanaa.
1960s: The first purified water system of Yemen is opened in Ta'izz