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The Enchanting Socotra Island

The Socotra Island in Yemen has long been a land of mystery. Described as ‘The Galapagos of the Middle East’ & ‘The Jewel of Arabia,’ the unspoiled alien-like landscape of the island has intrigued travelers & scientists for decades.


Discover more about the enchanting Socotra Island…

Socotra island Image credit @hobopeeba on IG

 

According to UNESCO, Socotra Island is a site of “universal importance because of its biodiversity with rich & distinct flora & fauna.” Its name means the island of Bliss in the ancient Sanskrit language.


Image credit Riya Teotia

 

The UN body estimates that 37 percent of Socotra’s 825 plant species, 90 percent of its reptile species and 95 percent of its land snail species do not exist anywhere else in the world.


Image credit hobopeeba

 

Socotra Island has been described as "the most alien-looking place on Earth." In 2008 Socotra was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Image credit Daniel Kordan

 

Socotri culture is just as endemic & endangered as Socotra’s famed species of fauna & flora. Located off the coast of Yemen in the Indian Ocean, this mysterious island lies between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea.


Image credit @yemenjourney

 

Socotra Island’s dragon’s blood trees, incense and a variety of other species of fauna and flora can be found nowhere else on the planet.


Image credit hobopeeba

 

Dragon's Blood Tree is known to Socotrans by its Arabic name, Damm Al-Akhwayn – Blood of Two Brothers. Endemic to the remote Haghir Mountains of Socotra, it is named after the crimson sap that farmers tap to sell in markets, as both a medicinal balm and as lipstick.


Image credit Pinterest/Unknown

 

The tree got its name from its red fluid that has some form of resemblance to dragon’s blood. The sap oozes naturally from fractures and sores in the bark. The dragon blood tree is also known for its features of being an evergreen endemic species.


Credit @humanistooo

 

Socotra is known for its wealth of unique flora and fauna. Stories from the 1st century BC state that Socotra supplied the whole world with myrrh, laudanum, and other aromatic plants. Almost otherworldly flora and fauna unique to the island of Socotra.


The island also hosts the giant succulent tree. Species of cucumber trees and pomegranates also grow there that are not found elsewhere.


Image credit Daniel Kordan

 

The island is also home to some 50,000 people whose unique cultural heritage is often overlooked. The original Socotri culture includes traditional conservation techniques, natural medicine, fishing methods & the Socotri language, which is now on the brink of extinction.


Image credit MARTIN EDSTROM, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

 

The natives of Socotra, however, have never devised a way to write their language. Therefore, what is known of the islands is found in foreign records by those who have been there.


Image credit hobopeeba

 

According to these records, Socotra was ruled by various nationalities over different periods of time. These include the Indians, Greeks, Portuguese, the Omani Sultanate & the British. Many of them lived side by side on the island.


Image credit hobopeeba

 

Socotra’s position played a big role in the ancient world. It was a popular stopover for sailors who crossed the Indian Ocean. Sailors & merchants took resins & medicinal herbs & sold them to far-off empires. Inscriptions can be found in the Hoq caves & other sites as evidence.


The first known Socotri poet is thought to be from the 9th century. Fatima al-Suqutriyya is a popular figure in the Socotri culture. Little is currently known about her although she is thought to have been born on the island of Socotra during the 3rd c. AH (Islamic calendar).


Image credit hobopeeba

 

Poetry represents simple folktales as well as the oldest legends of Socotra, which are mostly unknown. Telemethel is the most popular form of Socotri poetry. This form of poetry consists of witty short poetic pieces of folklore comprised mainly of four-line stanzas.


Image credit Beautiful Arab

 

The pink blossoms on the trees are visible throughout the island of Socotra.


Image credit hobopeeba

 

The vast desert plains are mesmerising on the island of Socotra.

Image credit hobopeeba

 

The incredible unique flora on the island of Socotra is continuously researched.


Image credit @socotra_nature

 

The island of Socotra is a unique mystery to people across the world, it is a source of natural beauty and inspiration.

 

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