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Travel Guide Middle East Yemen Sana'a



Rock Palace

Rock Palace

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Sana'a (صنعاء) is the capital of Yemen and has a population of about 1.8 million people. It is located in the central northwest of the country on a plateau at an altitude of 2200 meters, surrounded by even higher mountains. It is a very ancient city with almost 2000 years of history as one of its attractions for travellers and the old city of Sana'a is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is a very beautiful city and is less important to the country's economy and industry than its southern counterpart, Aden. But it does have multi-storied houses built from burnt clay tiles with alabaster windows and white chalked façades, narrow lanes in the souq with all sorts of shops and the smell of spices and thousands of years of cultural heritage.



Sights and Activities

  • Sana'a Old City
  • Salt Market
  • Bab Al-Yemen (the Gate of Yemen)



Events and Festivals

National Unity Day

This is the day that North Yemen and South Yemen united and became one nation. It is celebrated each year in May through parties, public entertainment, and carnivals. It is also a day of family for locals and many citizens travel throughout the country to be together.

Sana’a Summer Festival

This month-long festival kicks off a series of events in the capital city each year during July. This colorful festival starts off with a huge carnival at Bab al-Yemen, the main gate to the Old City. Numerous people participate in the carnival and perform the traditional folkloric dance and take part in a fashion show to show off the traditional clothing of the country. Different events take place throughout the month-long event in parks, theatres, at historical attractions, and on the streets of Sana’a. The main focus of the festival is the handicrafts and industrial items of the country, with the crafts made by women of particular interest.

Eid al-Adha

This is an important Muslim holiday, whose name translates to ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’. It is celebrated in honor of the Prophet Abraham who sacrificed his first-born son to God, who then gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead. This four-day holiday starts on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, which is anywhere between September and November. This is the last month of the Islamic calendar and starts the day after the Hajj pilgrimage. The rituals in the mosques themselves are closed off to visitors though visitors can participate in the feast that follows.


This day celebrates the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. It takes place each year on the 12th day of the month of Rabi’ al-awwal, which falls in the winter of the Georgian calendar. A large street carnival takes place in cities and towns all over the country, as well as a large street procession. Houses and mosques are decorated, and food is distributed to everyone. Stories about the life of Mohammed are told and children recite famous Arabic poetry. Unlike other festivals in Yemen, Mouloud is a national holiday so all banks and businesses are closed.




Because of its elevation (2250 meters above sea level) temperatures are mild compared to lower areas of the country and temperatures over 32º C are rare, even in summer. In winter, some frosts have been recorded but most times it is above 0º C. Most rain falls between April and September, with July being a little drier. Winters are mild but dry and snow is rare.



Getting There

By Plane

Sana'a International Airport (SAH) is where all flights depart and arrive. Yemenia is the national airline of Yemen ) and it operates surprisingly many flights to and from here. Although destinations are mainly located in the Middle East and a few destinations further in Asia like Kuala Lumpur, there are flights to and from Paris, London, Rome, Johannesburg and Frankfurt as well.

Other airlines serving Sana'a are mostly airlines of neighbouring countries, although Lufthansa flies to Frankfurt.

Domestic services with Yemenia from Sana'a include Aden, Taiz and the island of Socotra.



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This is version 4. Last edited at 13:36 on Nov 17, 15 by Utrecht. 16 articles link to this page.

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