Aden (UK /ˈeɪdən/ ay-duhn, US /ˈɑːdɛn/
ah-den; Arabic: عدن ʻAdin/ʻAdan Yemeni pronunciation: [ˈʕæden, ˈʕædæn])
is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red
Sea (the Gulf of Aden), some 110 miles (170 kilometres) east of
Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately a million people. Aden's
ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of a dormant volcano which
now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a low isthmus. This
harbour, Front Bay, was first used by the ancient Kingdom of Awsan
between the 5th and 7th centuries BC. The modern harbour is on the other
side of the peninsula.
Aden consists of a number of distinct sub-centres: Crater, the original
port city; Ma'alla, the modern port; Tawahi, known as "Steamer Point" in
the colonial period; and the resorts of Gold Mohur. Khormaksar, located
on the isthmus that connects Aden proper with the mainland, includes the
city's diplomatic missions, the main offices of Aden University, and
Aden International Airport (the former British Royal Air Force station
RAF Khormaksar), Yemen's second biggest airport. On the mainland are the
sub-centres of Sheikh Othman, a former oasis area; Al-Mansura, a town
planned by the British; and Madinat ash-Sha'b (formerly Madinat
al-Itihad), the site designated as the capital of the South Arabian
Federation and now home to a large power/desalinization facility and
additional faculties of Aden University.
Aden encloses the eastern side of a vast, natural harbour that comprises
the modern port. The volcanic peninsula of Little Aden forms a
near-mirror image, enclosing the harbour and port on the western side.
Little Aden became the site of the oil refinery and tanker port. Both
were established and operated by British Petroleum until they were
turned over to Yemeni government ownership and control in 1977.
Aden was the capital of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen until
that country's unification with the Yemen Arab Republic. On that
occasion, the city was declared a free trade zone. Aden gives its name
to the Gulf of Aden.
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