Socotra Island has always been a distinguished tourist destination, a station for many legends and a crossroads of ancient civilizations. Its strategic location made it of great value. As it was an ancient fleet for the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Africa and India on the one hand, and its charming and picturesque nature and the scarcity of its trees and herbs on the other hand.
The oldest name given to the island is the Pharaonic name "Bankh", and it dates back to two thousand years BC. The ancient Indians called it "Dvipa market civilization" in Sanskrit; That is, the island of bliss, and to the Sanskrit name, historians attribute the story spread among them even today regarding the Greek origin of the island of "Dioscorida", and hence its current name Socotra, Socotra, Socotra...etc.
Whoever delves into the history of the island of Socotra will find that it knew smugglers, colonizers and invaders before witnessing stability, and knew Christianity before Islam, and although - at present - it lacks many services, but it still preserves its aesthetic, composition and language, and is an attractive tourist destination with all the legends that surround it and an ancient history that attracts those who like to visit and learn about it to go deeper into a history rich in civilizations, myths, cultural heritage and folklore.
In spite of the number of books that talked about it, it is not known exactly when the island was first settled and who inhabited it, but what is known is that its inhabitants were trading in myrrh, frankincense, incense, aloes and other aromatic plants, and the Egyptians were transporting gold and precious fragrant wood to the island. According to ancient legends, the owners of frankincense plantations during the harvest season should avoid contact with their wives and not to participate in a funeral procession.
Until now, the island has preserved its own language and the customs of its inhabitants. The faces of its inhabitants are characterized by the features of the Bedouin tan, speaking soqatri language, which is said to be close to the ancient Yemeni language of Saba.
In addition to the frankincense tree, Socotra is famous - as it is known - for the trees of the blood of the two brothers, around which several legends revolve according to the religion that deals with the origins and history of this tree; Some of them are common in the Red Sea, such as the story of Adonis in Syria. These stories were the basis on which the story of Saint George and the Dragon was built, and revolve around the famous fight against the dragon for a sacred spot free from sins and evils. In every story the hero is a human or a god, but in Socotra he was an elephant!
The Indian legend says in Hamzah Noman's book "Legends from Yemen" that the Indian triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva had a temple in India called the El Fenta Temple, and the island was closely related to the Gulf of Aden. The elephant represented Brahma or Vishnu, while the dragon represented Shiva, and the blood that was shed in the bitter fight between the elephant and the dragon was the blood of the two brothers. The dragon turned around the elephant and sucked its blood in pleasure. And when his blood bled, he fell, and his fall was on the dragon, and he crushed him, and their souls overflowed together. The blood of the two brothers was a symbol of the struggle between the characters of the Indian Trinity.
Moreover, among the legends that revolved around the island is also a legend that talks about the phoenix, the sacred bird of the Phoenicians. According to their perception, this bird lived between 500 and 600 years. And lands to die in the city of the Sun (Heliopolis) in Egypt. It is believed that the giant bird may have come to Egypt from the island of Socotra.
Pelinius wrote of the phoenix saying: "This famous bird in Arabia is the size of an eagle, has feathers of great beauty around its neck, and its whole body is purple, and its tail feathers are only azure, intertwined with pinkish feathers." It devotes itself to the sun, and when it became old, it builds a nest for itself of cinnamon or frankincense twigs make him smell the fragrance of incense, then he crouches in the nest and breathes. From his bones and marrow, a small worm emerges, which turns into a small bird. The first thing he does is bury his father’s body, then he transfers the nest to the city of the sun and places it there in the sacred temple, and ends the life cycle of the great lineage tree with the death of this bird.
Many ancient travelers mentioned the island in their travels, and gave a description of its nature and its inhabitants; In the first century, an unknown Greek merchant from Egypt wrote about Socotra, with his nautical instructions entitled “A Journey in the Eritrean Sea,” which includes a trip and a detailed description of the island of Socotra: “Dioscreda is very large, but it is deserted despite the abundance of water sources. It has rivers and crocodiles, and many snakes and large lizards whose meat is eaten. While its ghee is melted, and consumed instead of olive oil, the island does not produce fruits, vines and grains. Its inhabitants are few, residing only in its northern part, opposite the mainland. They are a mixture of Arabs, Indians, and even Greeks who moved there to trade.” The large ones whose meat is eaten. Its butter is melted, and it is consumed instead of olive oil, and the island does not produce fruits, vines and grains. Its inhabitants are few, residing only in its northern part, opposite the land continent. They are a mixture of Arabs, Indians, and even Greeks who moved there to conduct trade.
Until now, the island has preserved its own language and the customs of its inhabitants. The faces of its inhabitants are characterized by the features of the Bedouin tan, and its language is said to be close to the ancient Yemeni language of Saba, and the deliciousness of its meat, as described by those who visited it. Livestock there feed on aromatic plants that leave a delicious effect when cooked.
To conclude, it is worth mentioning that Socotra still represents the inspiration for poets, writers and photographers, to delve into it more, but Socotra literature did not take its due sufficiently, despite what the folklore contains of stories and folk tales that shape the nature of society throughout history.
In Fahd Selim’s book “Selections from Socotra Literature,” which included four chapters dealing with Socotra’s history, language, poetry and singing, the writer says: “Whoever writes about Socotra must be conflicted by thoughts, crowded with ideas, and condensed by topics and titles.” The writer suggested the scarce of published studies on Socotra literature is due to the lack of letters in her language, which made it difficult to study it.