12 September, 2014

Amazing Old Sanaa and Bab El Yemen

Ba El Yemen Old Sanaa
Sanaa: one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities of the world; at about 2,300 meters above sea level, it's also one of the highest capital cities in the world. Sanaa is where Old Sanaa and Bab el Yemen are. Amazing. Wonderful. Fascinating. Fantastic. Are all words, and many more such superlatives, that can be used to describe Old Sanaa and Bab El Yemen . Of all places in Sanaa, Old Sana'a and Bab al Yaman are the most mesmerizing and most enchanting. It must have taken very organized planning, and total discipline to have built such a magically beautiful city. It must have also required very ingenious, gifted and very skilled craftsmen and builders to have created it. Yemenis still are very skilled and excellent builders; but now, Yemen doesn't have that old organized, focused planning; and, very sadly, it doesn't have discipline any more. It lost these long ago.

Bab El Yemen Old Sana'a
Bab el Yemen or Bab al-Yaman and the old fortified city -- are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Old Sanaa
Bab el Yemen is the main gate of Sana's old fortified, walled city.  During the day, it's always crowded and noisy.
Old Sana'a
Densely populated, with narrow streets, souqs, walled gardens, storeyed buildings and ancient towers.
Old Sanaa
One of the most well known and most popular streets here, is the Souq-al-Malih (Salt Market); where spices, raisins, nuts, clothes, copper, pottery, silverware and antiques are sold. With very few tourists coming into Yemen now, prices of antiques here -- are now at their lowest.
Old Sana'a
This is where to get some of the cheapest things in Sanaa. Be ready to bargain hard. And be careful of the quality of what you are buying.
Old Sanaa
At Souq-al-Malih, ask around -- and you can be allowed to go up and on the roof one of the tall buildings.
Old Sana'a
From up, the view is stunning, breathtaking and most spectacular.
Old Sanaa
Many of the houses - all red - resemble ancient skyscrapers, reaching several stories high and topped with flat roofs.
Old Sana'a
They are decorated with elaborate friezes and intricately carved frames and stained-glass windows.
Old Sanaa
No other city in the Middle East has such a spectacular, awesome and very unique architecture.
Old Sana'a
Viewing this and walking the narrow streets below, you are taken thousands of years back in time. Always, when I visit the Old City, considering where Yemen is now, I ask myself how could Yemenis have created this wonderful place?
Old Sanaa
Without advanced machines -- Yemenis created and achieved this one of a kind city.
Old Sana'a
Within the city, there are many mosques (about 100) and intricate minarets are all around; within the densely packed houses, mosques, bath buildings (hammams) -- are spacious green bustans (gardens).
Old Sanaa
Its many-storied buildings represent an outstanding response to defensive needs in providing spacious living quarters for the maximum number of residents within defensible city walls. (Yonder, beyond in the distance is a completely different, contrasting city -- the new, modern but uninspiring and unattractive Sanaa.)
Old Sana'a
The buildings demonstrate exceptional and extraordinary craftsmanship in the use of local materials and techniques.
Old Sanaa
Described and mentioned by historians, geographers and scholars of the early Islamic and medieval eras, Sana'a is associated with the civilizations of the Bible and the Noble Qur'an.
Old Sana'a
Within the city's wall, is an outstanding example of a homogeneous architectural ensemble; whose design, detail and organization of space, is extraordinary and exceptional.
Old Sanaa
Stunning and spectacular. A masterpiece. No other city or site on Earth, resembles this.
Old Sana'a
If you like old, historical architecture and buildings; Old Sanaa is a must place to visit. It's not only the exteriors of these buildings that are wonderful and spectacular - the inside of these houses are as intricately, as charmingly and as beautifully made.
Old Sanaa
The architecture, the colors, the narrow streets and the busy souqs are so alien and so unreal, that -- a first visitor here will be left utterly spellbound.
Old Sana'a
The colors, the people, the smells, the scents, the noises -- all make you feel like you are in a dream from a different ancient time.
Old Sanaa
No matter where you have been, Sanaa and this Old City in particular -- is a most unforgettable experience.
Old Sana'a
Most likely, for most people - photos of Old Sanaa amaze. But, to visit and see the place and see the real thing is a completely different, overwhelming experience.
Old Sanaa
I and my family have visited the Old City many times, and each time -- I can't help but be completely awed by the ingenuity and beauty of the place.
Old Sana'a
The old city of Sana’a has a distinctive visual character due to its unique architectural characteristics, most notably expressed in its multi-storeyed buildings, decorated with geometric patterns. So many multi-storeyed tower houses built of baked bricks (of rammed, red earth), in such a small place, is what mainly gives this place its extraordinary charm, mystery and aura.
Old Sanaa
Staring at the ingenuity of these buildings: the red walls, the intricately, painstakingly and beautifully decorated doors and windows -- I can't help, but wonder; why is Yemen doing so poorly now?
Old Sana'a
It's best to explore Old Sanaa on foot. Find a good guide and take time. The people here are very friendly and helpful. If you are with a family, they are even more so. I took these photos at the wrong time (at around noon when it was very hot); mornings around 9.00 and afternoons at around 4.00, are the best times to visit and take photos.
Old Sanaa
With all the changes, upheaval, instability that Yemen is going trough now -- how long can Old Sanaa be preserved? How long can its unique buildings remain as they are? Yemenis are known for their wisdom, ingenuity and resilience -- very hopefully, with and in time, Yemen will rise, create and achieve again.

+ Conservation of the Old Walled City of Sana'a
+ Old Sana'a: One of the World's architectural gems
+ The Old Wonder of Sana'a
+ Idea for collecting Rainwater in Sana'a wins Award