Al Hudaydah (also written as Hodeidah) is the fourth largest city in Yemen with a population 400,000 people, and the centre of Al Hudaydah Governorate. The city is also known as Hodeida.
Situated on the Red Sea, it is an important port, exporting coffee, cotton, dates, and hides. It was developed as a seaport in the mid-19th century by the Ottoman Turks.
In 1914 during the First World War German troops led by Major Freiherr Othmar von Stotzingen established a wireless station at Al Hudaydah which was used during the Arab Revolt to relay communications from Istanbul to German East Africa as well as broadcast propaganda to the Sudan, Somaliland and Abyssinia.
After a disastrous fire in January 1961 destroyed much of the city, it was rebuilt, particularly the port facilities, with Soviet aid. A highway to Sana, the capital, was completed in 1961. Hudaydah was the site of a Soviet naval base in the 1970s and 1980s.
The city has a large number of historical places, particularly in Zabid, which is regarded as one of the most important Islamic towns in the world . The city is not large but it has more than 100 old mosques. Furthermore, the city used to have an old university which is as old as al-Azhar.
The Malay writer Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir visited Al Hudaydah on his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1854, and describes the city in his account of the journey, mentioning that the custom of chewing Khat was prevalent in the city at this time.