Friday, March 28, 2008

The SOCOTOA of Socotra

I've decided--I must go to Socotra.
Socotra or Soqotra (Arabic سقطرى ; Suquṭra) is a small archipelago of four islands and islets in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Horn of Africa some 350 km south of the Arabian peninsula. It is a part of the 'Adan Governorate of the Republic of Yemen. The island is also claimed by Somalia.
Socotra appears as Dioskouridou ("of the Dioscurides") in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a 1st century A.D. Greek navigation aid. In the notes to his translation of the Periplus, G.W.B. Huntingford remarks that the name Socotra is not Greek in origin, but derives from the Sanskrit dvipa sukhadhara ("island of bliss").

A local tradition holds that the inhabitants were converted to Christianity by Thomas in AD 52. In the 10th century the Arab geographer Abu Mohammed Al-Hassan Al-Hamdani stated that in his time most of the inhabitants were Christians. Socotra is also mentioned in The Travels of Marco Polo according to which "the inhabitants are baptized Christians and have an archbishop" who, it is further explained, "has nothing to do with the Pope at Rome, but is subject to an archbishop who lives at Baghdad". They were Nestorians but they also practised ancient magic rituals despite the warnings of their archbishop.
And to boot, the island is home to dragon's blood trees.

Socotra [Wikipedia]
Socotra [Flickr]
The Wonder Land of Socotra, Yemen []

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:: posted by David, 2:37 PM


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