Hudayda, a coastal Red Sea city in the larger Hudayda Province, is one of the primary ports in Yemen. Its historical significance is related to its geo-strategic location along prominent water routes connecting with the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean, as well as land routes leading to the capital city of Sana'a. It is also one of Yemen's most populated cities, second only to Taizz. Unique to the built environs of Hudayda, particularly in terms of vernacular architecture, is basalt and brick construction. Also within the province of Hudayda, and near to the city proper, is the historical city of Zabid.
Like many port cities, the landscape of Hudayda has been subject to the shifting dynamics of population and trade, unevenly subjected to both modernization and destruction. Much of the standing architecture in Ḥudayda was built during the mid-nineteenth century during the second Ottoman occupation of
Yemen, and accordingly, bears considerable Ottoman architectural influence. During this time, Hudayda constituted a new, northern maritime base, replacing the emphasis on the southern Yemeni port city of Mocha. In 1911 and 1912, however, the port and surrounding areas were significantly damaged in the Italo-Turkish War. The following decades provided little opportunity for revitalization, as the city witnessed occupation and territorial dispute. In 1961 much of the port was damaged as the result of a in the city, but was rebuilt with Soviet aid. The same year, a road connecting Hudayda to the capital city of Sana'a was built, encouraging further investment and revitalization. By the conclusion of the North Yemen Civil War (1960-72), Hudayda had emerged the provincial capital.
Since 2015, the city has experienced significant damages from shelling and aerial attacks as a result of conflicts in Yemen.
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