Photo by Solivagant.

The Old City of Sana'a is renowned for the unique skyline of a densely packed ensemble of multi-storey traditional houses and minarets.

Surrounded by ancient clay walls, the old city boasts over 100 mosques, 12 hammams, and 6,500 houses. Many of the houses reach several stories high and are decorated with geometric patterns, elaborate friezes, intricately carved frames and stained glass windows. Sana’a is also connected to the spread of Islam in its early years - the majestic seventh-century Jami' al-Kabir (Great Mosque) is known as the first mosque built outside Mecca and Medina.

Community Perspective: As a site that has been off-limits for a decade, the only review so far stems from Solivagant who characterizes it as “a city to wander round without a map”.

Map of Sana'a

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UK - 01-May-05 -

Sana'a by Solivagant

San’a is a city to wander round without a map and without any particular objectives other than soaking up the atmosphere. “Dive in” at the Bab Al-Yaman and just see where serendipity takes you. Oh, and have plenty of digital cards or film! Because of the narrowness of the alleyways and the height of the buildings it is worth going at different times of day in order to benefit from different positions of the sun. Some buildings will let you in and the views from the top over the city are worthwhile if you can find them/ obtain invitations. You will also get a feel for the enclosed gardens which dot the city but are largely invisible from the outside other than a few palm branches peeping over the walls!

Site Info

Full Name
Old City of Sana'a
Unesco ID
1986 - In Danger
4 5 6
Urban landscape - Urban continuity

Site History

2015 In Danger

damage due to armed conflict

1986 Inscribed


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