Great Mosque of Sana'a
Situated on the western side of the city’s main souk, the Great Mosque of Sana'a is focused around a central courtyard which measures approximately 80 metres long and 60 metres wide and many believe its construction was ordered by the prophet Mohammed himself.
Whether you take a true interest in the fascinating history of this construction is arbitrary since the sheer magnificence of its various sections is enough to grab the attention of any sightseer. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing when visiting; the arms and legs of both men and women should be covered at all times.
Located in Taherir Square, the National Museum is, for many visitors, the best formal introduction to the history of Yemen.
A self-guided tour allows you to take in a large selection of artefacts among which are engravings and statues from pre-Islamic times, tribal artefacts such as a bronze spatula, grinding stone, bell bracelet, bead bracelet and necklace and a variety of more recent objects including Islamic artworks and ethnic clothing examples.
The walled city of Sa'dah is another interesting site from an architectural perspective offering a variety of interesting old buildings and constructions which make for some good photo opportunities.
Climb up to the top of the city walls and appreciate the views you are afforded from this ideal vantage point then come down and check out the Najran Gate in the north of the city, which is definitely the most ornate and interesting of all the gates in the city.
Like Sana’a, Sa'dah has its own Great Mosque although the former is still perhaps the grander of the two. Other interesting architectural sites include the Sa'dah Fortress which is an important government building which was once the Imam’s residence. Just outside of Sa'dah, you’ll find the Zaydi Graveyard which contains some of the country’s most beautiful gravestones.
Yemen’s capital city Sana’a is a stunningly beautiful place with inherent interest value generated by its fascinating architecture and vibrant atmosphere.
The city is home to a wealth of amazing buildings based on it having been occupied for more than 2,500 years and has been declared by UNSECO as a World Heritage Site.
The Great Mosque of Sana'a, the National Museum, the Sana’a souk and a variety of other fascinating sites make the city of Sana’a a must visit location for anyone holidaying in Yemen.
Founded in the 3rd century AD, Shibam is a town famous for its unique clay houses which feature ornately decorated wooden doors and window shutters. From the adjacent mountain, fantastic silhouetted views of the town can be had as the sun goes down, making for some excellent photo opportunities
Top Things to Do
Go camping on Socotra Island
Local tour operators offer trips to the Red Sea’s Socotra Island which allow for overnight stays giving visitors the chance to get back to nature by sleeping under canvas and enjoying the wonderful environment that the island affords.
The island’s unique ecosystem supports a wide variety of fascinating flora and fauna and as visitors are there for at least 24 hours, they have ample opportunity to explore and witness the various species for which it is home.
Take a trip to Hadda Mountain
Located south of the capital city of Sana'a, Haddha Mountain is a scenic area in which visitors will find a variety of small ethnic villages as well as orchards where peaches, apricots, almonds and walnuts are grown.
Arrive at the village of Hadda itself and there are two genuine old fashioned Turkish mills still standing amid its small selection of charming buildings. Travel a little further to the Wadi Dhar valley and find more orchards where citrus fruits, pomegranates and grapes are grown.
Qat is a phenomenon that’s fairly exclusive to Yemen and is a plant with stimulant properties that is chewed by Yemeni men and forms an integral part of almost all male social gatherings. If alcohol and caffeine don’t overly faze you then you should give Qat a try as it is such a distinct Yemeni cultural activity.
Men traditionally take large handfuls of the plant’s leaves and stuff them into the corner of their mouths where they stay to be chewed upon for long periods while the benefit of their stimulating properties is appreciated.
Shop at Bab al-Yemen Market
Bab al-Yemen Market is located in Sana’a and is hailed as having been established at least a millennium ago.
The market offers some fantastic buying and browsing opportunities with over 40 different trades and crafts represented – if you’ve gifts to buy for family and friends at home then this is your one-stop shopping centre. The market is also a great place to people-watch and soak up some of the local culture.
Go diving in the Red Sea
Few dive sites offer the diversity of flora and fauna that is available around the islands of the Red Sea and those with scuba diving experience should not miss out on the opportunity to discover the delights that these waters hold.
Week-long trips which include all food, accommodation and transportation are available from local tour operators and offer participants the opportunity for a complete experience that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in the Middle East.
Do dinner with the locals
Befriend a taxi driver or a representative from a tour company and chances are you’ll get invited to their home for dinner. Eating at a Yemeni home is a unique experience that gives you a better insight into the local culture than almost any other activity.
Get to see the humble abodes that the locals call home and enjoy some of the most authentic and traditional Yemeni cuisine as you observe the cultural intricacies of the Yemeni family unit.