Old Sanaa is a magical Arabian Nights vision – straight from the tales of the 1001 Nights. It is one the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world, and believed to have been founded by Shem, the son of Noah.
Sanaa is Situated in a mountain valley at an altitude of 2,200 meters, and the old fortified city of Sanaa has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. Sanaa became a major centre for the propagation of Islam since the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
Surrounded by ancient clay walls which stand 9–14 metres high, the old city contains more than 100 mosques, 12 hammams (public bathhouses) and 6,500 tower houses; all built before the 11th century AD.
Sanaa was declared a United Nations World Heritage Site in 1986.
These ancient skyscraper homes sport white geometric patterns laced on mud-brick – like gingerbread houses with white icing. Windows often gleam with colored glass. Inside the home, interior walls are whitewashed, stairs are narrow, thick timber rafters stretch above the ceiling. I stayed a number of days in a family-run guest-house, deep amid the magical, ancient city of Sanaa.
Travels in Yemen – 2005