One of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, Sana’a serves as the modern capital of Yemen. Positioned at 2,300 metres, it is also one of the highest capital cities in the world and backed by the soaring summits of the Sarawat Mountains. Sana’a centres around a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old City and the immense Al Saleh Mosque.
Things to do in Sanaa
Spend a day exploring the atmospheric Old City of Sana’a, which is clustered with multi-storey tower houses decorated with geometric patterns and qamariya windows. You can haggle for local handcrafts in the bustling Souk al-Milh before learning about the history and culture of Yemen at the National Museum. Housed within a former palace, it boasts an impressive collection of artefacts discovered at archaeological sites across the country.
Sana’a is home to Yemen’s largest mosque, the Al Saleh Masjed, which was inaugurated in 2008 and can house up to 44,000 worshippers. It was designed in a combination of Yemeni and Islamic architectural styles, with multi-coloured stones used in its construction. Gaze up its seven domes and soaring minarets before admiring the stained-glass windows and Quranic verses inscribed on the walls.
A short drive north of Sana’a is Dar al-Hajar, a 1920s-built royal palace that rises spectacularly atop a rocky outcrop. It was designed as a summer retreat for Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed’Din and is open to the public as a house museum. Dar al-Hajar lies within Wadi Dhahr, a picturesque valley of agricultural fields.
Getting around Sanaa
Sana'a International Airport is around 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Sana’a and has regular flights to Cairo and Amman. Long-distance buses connect from Sana’a to towns and cities across Yemen while mini-buses travel throughout the city. Taxis are readily available for getting around.