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The Old City of Sanaa in Yemen

The Old City of Sanaa in Yemen is one of the oldest cities in the world, continuously inhabited for more than 2500 years. Meaning 'fortified palace', the city is a work of art in itself, & remains one of the greatest treasures of Arabia.

Although an exact date for the establishment of Sana’a is unknown, according to Yemeni legend, it was founded by Shem, one of the three sons of Prophet Noah.

Defined by distinct rammed earth and burnt brick tower-houses, the walled city has been inhabited for over 2,500 years and is home to the ancient pre-Islamic fortress of Ghumdan, a 20-story palace believed to be the world's first ever 'skyscraper'.

Once a seat of government for the early Islamic caliphs, it is today the capital city of Yemen. Its Islamic heritage is reflected in its 106 mosques, 12 hammams (bath houses) and 6,500 houses built before the 11th century.

As you step through the iconic 'Yemen Gate', the only one of the city's seven historic gates left standing, you will feel as though you have taken a step back in time.

Like an elaborate work of art in an expansive open-air museum, more than 6,000 houses built before the eleventh century lie within the old city walls, tucked close together and connected by a comprehensive network of narrow streets and alleyways.

The city has remarkably retained its historical ambience and splendor over the centuries and remained unspoiled by modern architecture, maintaining a comfortable rhythm between its traditional architectural fabric and the requirements of modern life.

More than 1,000 years ago & preceding most of the world’s cities, the old city of Sana’a presented a model of green architecture in its 6,500 buildings (UN-Habitat /2020), constructed with local environment friendly materials, such as stones, mud, baked bricks, wood & gypsum.

The architectural heritage of Sana'a consists of multi-story buildings decorated with geometric shapes and horizontal bands rendered in gypsum, narrow streets, urban gardens, elegant minarets and imposing monuments.

Typical houses in Sana'a rise to as many as nine stories. The lower levels are usually built of stone, and the upper ones of lighter brick. The windows are outlined in white gypsum and have fan lights of alabaster or coloured glass held in gypsum tracery.

The stained glass windows on the houses