Forbidden Gem Sanaa

Forbidden Gem Sanaa
Forbidden Gem Sanaa. Bird eye view of the old city.

Forbidden Gem Sanaa | Sana’a in Yemen is one of the oldest populated places on earth. According to legend, it was founded by Shem, the son of Noah. The old fortified city of Sanaa has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. It contains many intact architectural masterpieces. Efforts are underway to preserve the most ancient buildings, in some cases they are up to 1,400 years old. Surrounded by a 14m high ancient clay wall, the old city of Sanaa contains almost 100 mosques, 12 hammam baths and probably 6,500 old houses – many of them ancient skyscrapers. Some of them are up to six stories high. They are decorated with elaborate friezes and intricately carved frames and stained-glass windows.

Forbidden Gem Sanaa

Forbidden Gem Sanaa
Sanaa by night. Photo: yeowatzup – wikipedia CC BY 2.0

In theory you can visit Sanaa, but a strong reason not go there is Kidnapping. This cruel ‘sport’ is popular all over Yemen, particularly in Sanaa. Still we want to visit Sanaa at least once in your life. Old Sanaa is calling our names. Compare Old Sanaa with Paris, Amsterdam or Venice: it got large areas of preserved unique valuable architecture, just significantly older.

Forbidden Gem Sanaa - famous city gate
Forbidden gem Sanaa. Getting there is not easy. Famous city gate. The 1,000-year-old Bab Al-Yemen (the Gate of Yemen) at the centre of the old town. Photo by Jialiang Gao wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Most popular attractions in Sanaa: (1) Suq al-Milh (Salt Market), where you indeed can buy salt along with other stuff such as bread, spices, raisins, cotton, pottery, silverware, antiques. (2) Jami’ al-Kabir (Great Mosque). Built in the 7th century it is therefore one of the oldest mosques in the world. (3) Bāb al-Yaman (Yemen Gate). This entry point through the city wall and is more than 1,000 years old and therefore pretty famous too.


Forbidden Gem Sanaa. By Chili & Churp | © International Destinations | Visit our Travel Alphabet.