Remote and isolated, the Socotra archipelago is often described as the “most alien-looking place on Earth.” The islands, part of Yemen, are scattered in the Arabian Sea, with Socotra, the largest island, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But while once a discerning destination for hardcore adventure tourists, visitor numbers have dwindled since the outbreak of the Yemeni civil war in 2015. Browse this gallery and get an idea of what this unworldly island looks like.
The jewel in the crown of Arabia’s biodiversity is under threat. Often dubbed the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, the unique Socotra archipelago is an Important Bird & Biodiversity and UNESCO World Heritage Site of global importance for its endemic wildlife and rich ancient cultures, but action is needed before modern-day pressures change these ancient islands forever.
The UAE has deployed tanks and about 50 soldiers to Yemen’s remote World Heritage site
Yemen’s government-in-exile slammed the United Arab Emirates’ takeover of Socotra, a remote heritage-listed Yemeni island in the Arabian Sea sometimes described as the “most alien-looking place on Earth.”
The UAE military’s seizure of the seaport and airport on Socotra is an “unjustified” assault on Yemen’s sovereignty, its exiled government said in a statement from Prime Minister Ahmed Bin Dagr’s office. It was a rare criticism of its partner in the fight against Houthi rebels who control large swathes of the country.
The takeover “reflects the disagreement between the legitimate government and our brothers in the UAE, and at its core is a dispute over national sovereignty and who has the right to practise it,” the statement said.
The Foreign Ministry of the United Arab Emirates denied the accusation in a statement posted on the official news agency WAM late Sunday.
The UAE said its role on Socotra is as an active member of the Arab coalition to restore Yemen’s internationally recognised government and that attempts to distort its actions on the island are part of Muslim Brotherhood-led smear campaigns to undermine the fight against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign affairs on Sunday night addressed recent criticisms issued on the official social media accounts of Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, which the UAE said escalated the situation beyond “reality and logic”, Wam reported.
The Ministry expressed its surprise at the Prime Minister’s statement and said that such tensions distracted from the shared goal to counter the Houthi rebel threat.
The UAE has deployed soldiers to Socotra, which is a Unesco World Heritage site, as part of a campaign to support its residents but the move has been criticised, with the Emirates accused by some Yemeni officials of over-stepping its UN-backed mandate as part of the Coalition, according to media reports.
In the island of Socotra, considered to be one of the most alien-looking places on Earth, recent research suggests Indic roots from far back in time.
Have you ever seen a dragon’s blood tree? No, it isn’t something out of the sets of the Game of Thrones. This is a real tree whose scientific name is Dracaena cinnabariand is considered to be of immense value because of its product – a red sap that oozes from the trunk of the tree, from which it gets its name. The tree is found only on the remote island of Socotra, off the coast of Yemen, once home to a thriving culture of Indic people.
Socotra is one of the most alien-looking places on Earth. It looks like something out of a science fiction film, so unreal is its landscape. It is also home to some 800 species of flora and fauna, over a third of which are endemic – which means they are not found anywhere else on the planet.
Manama : The long-neglected island Socotra is now home to a large number of endangered species wherein up to a third of its plant life is endemic and could be found nowhere else on earth but Socotra, revealed experts at a workshop held at the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage in Manama
The cultural heritage protection programme for the Yemeni island of Socotra was hosted by the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage in co-ordination with Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh with the support of British Council. The programme was aimed at integrating cultural heritage into conservation and development planning on Socotra.
The workshop that was launched in the presence of Yemeni Ambassador to the Kingdom Hassan Al Ahmadi is part of a two-year programme attended by six participants of heritage and community development workers in Socotra.
Most of the world’s islands are well-explored, their secrets learned long ago, but a few remain mysterious. Islands shown on maps for centuries suddenly appear to vanish. Dangerous, top secret facilities on remote islands are abandoned or destroyed. Sometimes, islands behave in ways seemingly inexplicable to those who discover or study them. An island seems to appear as if by magic, leaving experts to wonder what created it and how.
Islands all but completely cut off from the rest of the world produce flora that are not only unique but also look as though they could grow only on an alien world. Other islands are mysterious because of their inhabitants’ origin or fate. All of these ten strange and mysterious islands are truly amazing for these reasons and more.