Abha city is the administrative headquarters and the capital of the Asir region in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, where the headquarters of the province and the branches of ministries are located. It is located on the Hijaz Mountains and is adjacent to the east and north-east of Khamis Mushait province, to the north-west of Al-Namas province, and to the west and south-west of Muhayil province.
Abha city is one of the most important tourist resorts and cities in Saudi Arabia because of its mild climate and its great height from the sea, that’s why it is called the bride of the mountain. It is also called Mist Lady and Abha Al-Bahiyeh (the fascinating Abha) for its natural beauty.
Some researchers believe that the city of Abha was called in the old past (Abqa), the site from which Bilquis, Queen of Sheba used to send gifts to the Prophet Solomon. The connection of this city to history is reflected in the manifestations of old buildings and castles it has, some of which date back hundreds of years. In the past, the city was considered one of the most important markets in which the region’s inhabitants meet from the Sarra mountains and the Tanumah plains.
The area of Abha is about 5000 hectares and rises from the sea surface by at least 2200 meters. It occupies an area that is more like a basin, surrounded by mountains from most of the regions except the north and north-east where Khamis Mushait province is located.
In general, the climate of the Abha is cool in winter and mild in summer. The summer temperature is usually moderate to no more than 30 °C. In winter, the climate is cold but the temperature is not less than 5 °C. Besides, the surrounding highlands, such as Jabal Sawda.
The Moderate climatic conditions contributed to the diversity of Abha’s agricultural crops between corn, peaches, figs, apricots, pomegranates, grapes and apples.
The population of Abha and its villages is about 160,000 people, most of whom are in Abha. The villagers are engaged in agriculture, grazing activities, and a number of them work in various government professions.
A large number of Abha residents prefer to spend weekends and other holidays, outside their city, in the quiet villages and rural areas of the Sarra mountains and the Tanumah plains.
Abha is one of the few cities in the world to have won awards specializing in environmental hygiene. Abha city has many monuments that enhance its value as an important tourist destination, where tourists are frequented by a number of historical sites, between the museum of Dar-Almaa for culture and heritage, Al-Muftaha Art Village, Al-Malha palace, and Shada palace, in addition to the popular markets that the Abha secretariat maintained, the most important of which is Rabou Al-Yazeed market, where visitors can buy antiques, souvenirs and special folk costumes.
The secret why Houthi Militias target Abha
In the last period, Houthi militias attacked areas of Abha many times, especially Abha International Airport in an attempt to achieve two goals:
- The first is to badly affect the usual summer tourism movement in this city, which represents in Taif, an internal tourist area that attracts middle-income people in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. Particularly that Abha is located on the eastern slopes of the Red Sea Mountain Range. It has an exceptional atmosphere compared to the rest of Saudi Arabia, making it a tourist destination for large numbers of citizens who have been accustomed to enjoying a traditional festival in the city for nearly 20 years.
- The second target is linked to the timing, with Abha airport is experiencing heavy traffic at this time of the year, not only by the visitors coming to spend their summer vacations, but also by the increasing number of foreign workers leaving Abha for their annual leave. It is well-known that Saudi Arabian Airlines is keen to set direct flights from Abha international airport to the labor-intensive countries, particularly Egypt and Sudan.