Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The inconceivable beauty of Yemeni architecture

The land of Yemen is one of the oldest centers of civilization in the world and has some of the most enchanting ancient architecture in the Arab world. You will see a town on every hilltop or big rock. These towns where built for protection against enemies. It is mind-boggling how they managed to build these complicated structures.

Sana'a, the capital of the Republic of Yemen, is an ancient walled city of 6,500 houses and more than 100 mosques, and is a living museum of traditional styles. Sana'a reflects every aspect of the uniqueness of this mysterious country; beautiful decorated fortified houses, sumptuous palaces, bustling markets and friendly inhabitants. Sana’a also boasts with the recently-completed Saleh Mosque, built in the traditional Yemeni way that is a beautiful new addition to the capital.

Linda Shen

View of Sana'a from the Arabia Felix Hotel

Old Sana'a is full of ornate traditional architecture

Part of Old Town Sana'a along the Sa'ila, illuminated at night

The Arabia Felix Hotel

The Saleh Mosque is the largest Mosque in all of Yemen and cost $60 million to built. The mosque was inaugurated on Friday, 21 November 2008, despite the uproar caused by the impoverished citizens about it's extortionating pricetag. The house of worship is surrounded by sprawling gardens and has space for 40,000 followers.

The mosque's design follows a unique Yemeni style of architecture, with wooden roofs and 15 wooden doors, each 75 feet high and carved with copper patterns. Inside, a large crystal chandelier lights up the main prayer area. The mosque has three floors, with libraries and 25 classrooms.

Haider Nakash

Haider Nakash


Interior of the Saleh Mosque

I am most facinated by the fortress-like city of Al Hajjarah, a small mountain village near Manakha, southwest of Sana'a. The 2000-metre high village of Al Hajjarah (means 'the stony one'), tower like houses (to accommodate extended families) were built close together on a steep rock face to form a closed wall of protection. There is only one single narrow entrance to the village, which is closed off by a heavy wooden door. There are up to five storey high houses in Al Hajjarah that are superimposed on the uneven rock surface, a bold accomplishment by Yemeni master-builders.

Brian McMorrow

Brian McMorrow

Brian McMorrow

Brian McMorrow

Brian McMorrow

Tourist Hotel and Restaurant

Arial view

Yemen is slowly becoming known as the 'undiscovered pearl of the Peninsula' by travelers in the know. Although the country is gradually modernizing, you'll still find all the goodness of old-style Arabia

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