The hills around Ta’izz have been occupied virtually forever, but the city itself didn’t make any recorded appearance until the 11th century. From the 13th to 15th centuries Ta’izz attained particular prominence when it became the capital of the Rasulid dynasty. Much later, Imam Ahmed bin Yahya Hamid al-Din chose the city as the capital, and reigned here from 1948 until his death in 1962. Much of Ta’izz is an entirely modern affair of drab and poorly constructed buildings, which seem to start collapsing before they’re even completed. The compact old quarter contains more majestic reminders from the past, including a handful of beautiful mosques.