At an altitude of 1400 meters, the city of Taizz is located at the northern foothills of the Jabal Sabir, situated equidistant from the Yemeni highlands of the Sana'a plateau and the country's southern coast. While there were pre-Islamic Himyarite fortresses on Mount Sabir, the first settlements on the site of Taizz were probably sometime during the eleventh century. The first written documentation of the city is dated to 1175, the year Ayyubid leader Turanshah (Salah Ed-din's brother) changed his residence from Zabid to Taizz after defeating the Mahdids. The city, which gained recognition during the Ayyubid period, continued to develop under Rasulid rule from 1229 to 1454, as they governed the southern mountain ranges and the Tihama from Taizz. A period of great prosperity and trade relations, the city's most prominent historic monuments date to this time, including the Madrasa of al-Mu'tabiyya, the Mosque and Madrasa of al-Ashrafiyya, and the Mosque of al-Muzaffariyya.
Hämäläinen, Pertti, and Nicole Courtade. Yemen. Paris: Arthaud, 1989.
Wald, Peter. 1992. Yemen. London: Pallas Athene.