The highland city of Taiz, in Yemen’s southwest, is renowned for many things. Five hundred years ago it was the political capital before that shifted to Sanaa, yet it continues to be the country’s cultural capital, home to many of Yemen’s most prominent writers, poets and artists. On top of the cultural legacy, there is also the city’s history as a commercial hub, which gave rise to an educated and cosmopolitan mercantile class. Taiz sits close to the Red Sea’s Mocha port, once part of a major trade route and from where the famous coffee beans were exported.
Events in Taiz have gone somewhat under the radar. But the violence, death and destruction there has reached unparalleled levels.Manuel Almeida