''The Sira Fortress is one of the remaining important monuments which represents the prosperous period of business activities in Aden across its history.
Economical activity was witnessed in the construction of the Tanks (Al Sahareeg), religious activity in the building of the Minarets, military activity in the building of the Fortress.
Like the Tanks of Al Tawila, nothing much was known about the history of the Fortress and little was mentioned by archeologists and historians about its construction or military role over the years.''(1)
The original guard post of Aden, and a symbol of strength in protecting Aden in bygone times, is an important Islamic archeological monument which stands atop Sirah Island overlooking the original ancient port of Aden.
The fort dates back more than a thousand years and has been mentioned in ancient Yemenite inscriptions. Throughout history it has defended Aden against invaders and raiding freebooters from across the sea.
No one knows for certain the builder of this fortress, the reason being the scarcity of archeological studies in the area and, above all, difficulty in financing a project concerning archeological exploration of this castle and the surrounding site.
However, it is possible the original construction of the fortress relates to Prince Othman Al-Zangabili Al-Takriti, the Turkish "Wali" of Aden appointed from Istanbul by the Ottoman Empror Turan Shah. Unverified records state that it was constructed during the year 1173 A.D. (569 Hijria). The Turkish Wali of Aden (envoyed as ruler of Aden) was the first to use stones in building of walls and fortresses around Aden City and harbor. Perhaps to confirm this historical testimony, is the fact that the Master-Plan of this Castle, together with the pattern of its towers, are somewhat similar to those found in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, which were built by the Ayoobi rulers.
Sirah Fortress stood against attacks by the Portugese, and played a vital role in defence against the Turkish army in 1517 A.D. The British later modified the original design and architecture of the fort. A report by Captain Foster dated March 1839 indicated orders to his soldiers to place guns and artillery in the fort together with additions of army establishments and military stores.
Arabs would say, "In the bowels of Sirah is a raging, fiery furnace which Allah will summon forth on the day of gathering."
The original Port of Aden at Front Bay
which had for so long been guarded by
Sirah Fort had silted up long before the
arrival of the British in 1839. A new port was
established in 1860 at At Tawahi - The British
named it Steamer Point. The new harbour lies
between the peninsulas of Aden and Little
Aden and measures about 15 km east-west by 7 km north-south.(2)
1) Sira, Arabic, by Abdulla A. Muhereiz, pg 83, published by Aden university, 1992.
2) Courtesy www.adenhistory.com