Soqotra Cultural Heritage

This website is designed to give an introduction to the diversity of cultural heritage of the Soqotra Archipelago, its links to the biodiversity and natural heritage, and to help responsible tour operators and prospective visitors think about how they can make a positive contribution through sustainable heritage tourism.

The Soqotra Archipelago lies in the Gulf of Aden approximately 300km south of Yemen and 120km east of Somalia. It has been called the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean” and is well known its rich and unique biodiversity: it was inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List in 2008 because of its extraordinary natural heritage.

It has become more and more apparent that the heritage of Soqotra cannot easily be separated into “natural” and “cultural” counterparts as these are inextricably linked. Further, the cultural heritage of Soqotra has been neglected in comparison with the knowledge acquired about its biodiversity which has been extensively documented and researched, as have the uses of biodiversity in the traditional knowledge and practices of the Soqotri people.

Initially funded by The British Council Cultural Protection Fund, the Soqotra Heritage Project has gathered information about the cultural heritage of Soqotra with the aim of conserving it for future generations of local Soqotri and visitors.


Socotra or Soqotra? A note on spelling.

Spelling of the main island and the archipelago in English is controversial, and both ‘c’ and ‘q’ have been used interchangeably by writers, researchers and visitors. However, the ‘correct’ form would be Soqotra as the letter “c” has no equivalent in Arabic or in the Modern South Arabian Languages, of which Soqotri is one. We have therefore chosen to use Soqotra over the prevailing use of Socotra as predominantly found in social media. Searches for this web domain will respond to both spellings.

Cultural Landscape

Rock Art

Cultural Sites