Island of Socotra. Yemen
Island of Socotra can be freely called a heavenly spot of our planet. This is truly one of the most beautiful and amazing places on the Earth. The size of the island is not particularly impressive – 134 km long and 43 km wide. It is a part of the state of Yemen and is located in the north-western part of Indian Ocean. Being a part of the archipelago of the same name it is about 250 kilometers off the coast of Africa. Socotra is among the most valuable centers of biological diversity. It is explained by the fact that due to the isolation of the island a lot of the local flora and fauna species are not found in any other corner of the world.
It was about 6 million years ago when the island broke away from the mainland and thereby conserved its unique nature of the external influence. So, nature of the island is preserved from prehistoric times, and thus Socotra attracts not only naturalists, numerous scientists and other experts, but also the lovers of eco-tourism and calm secluded relaxation. Although in general it can’t be said that tourists strive to get here. The country, where each resident has 3-5 units of the weapon, and police is not the established representative of the authorities, can hardly guarantee safety of the visitors.
In fact Socotra is one of the few places on the planet which wasn’t reached by the progress of the human activity and where we can find not spoiled unique natural environment. Almost all the flora and fauna is endemic. The word “Socotra” can be translated from Sanskrit as the Island of Happiness. Look at the pictures and make sure that it’s true!
Inimitable landscape of the island can be used as a decoration for any fantastic film! It looks like home for the extraterrestrial civilizations. Mountain ridges of Socotra rise up into the sky for a height of 1570 meters. Its mountain valleys represent wonderful green oases. Dragon’s blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari) is a symbol and the main endemic plant of the island. It’s just a local celebrity. The unusual shape of the tree, which resembles a mushroom or an opened umbrella, attracts crowds of photographers. According to the ancient legend, blood of dragons, which has magical healing properties, flows inside the Dragon trees. The resin of these trees has a spooky blood-red color. But it is actively used in cosmetics and medicine.
In addition, there are also such original types of trees as the Dendrosicyos, Gigantic Dorstenia and Desert Rose (Adenium Socotranum). All the terrestrial molluscs, 90% of reptiles and one third of plants of the island are found only here. The population of the endemic avifauna is considered to be the largest in the entire Near East. Marine dwellers are a mixture of species from three major regions: East Africa, Arabia and the Indo-Pacific.
It is a unique place due to its biological diversity and the socio-cultural heritage. In 2003 the island of Socotra was included into the UNESCO list of the World Biosphere Reserves under the “Man and Biosphere”.