Don't Miss Places In Yemen
Yemen is officially known as the Yemeni Republic. It is an Arabic country located at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula and is the second largest country in this peninsula. Sana’a is the capital and the largest city of Yemen. The word Yemen was derived from yumn, which means felicity, as the whole region is very fertile. Modern Standard Arabic is the official language of this country and many English and Yemeni Arabic speakers can be found in some areas of this country. Yemeni sign language is used by the deaf population.
A number of Red Sea islands, which include the Hanish Islands, Kamaran, Perim, and Socotra, belong to this country. The economy of Yemen depends on oil and natural gas reserves. Religion in this country primarily includes two Islamic Groups, Shia, and Sunni. Yemen is rich in its culture due to the influence of many civilizations. Football is the most popular sport in this country and it has a fascinating history and cultural heritage. It is home to four World Heritage Sites -this alone makes this place worth visiting.
Here are some places that you should never miss on your visit to this country:
The Rock Art of Sa’da
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Sa’da lies in the northern region of Yemen. It has a variety of high mountains which are linked to the Juma’aeh mountain chain. The Flatland of Sa’da is the most fertile and one of the most elevated flatlands in Yemen. High mountains and inner deserts make this place beautiful and you will also find numerous valley streams flowing through to The Empty Quarter Desert. This area consists of a large collection of ancient paintings and drawings. You will find a number of signs about the hunter-gatherer society. In the mountain area, known as Al-Khaza, many of the caves and rocks are full of inscriptions and paintings of goats, hounds, cows, snakes, plant and other geometric shapes.
You will also see ancient drawings and texts that were written by nomadic tribes. These drawings date back to about 4,500 years ago. The pictures you'll see on the canyon walls are plants and animals that were common during that period. The whole place is absolutely gorgeous. Fifteen kilometers to the northwest of Sa’da is the Al-Khazain Rocky Graveyard. This graveyard is carved in the mountain and resembles a vault. This is one of the most significant archeological sites in Yemen. Om Laila Castle contains stone paved roads, reservoir, grain stores and defense constructions such as towers and fortified walls, Its beautiful scenery makes it a very worthy place to visit.
Socotra Island is also known as the most alien-looking place on earth because being here will give you the feeling of being on a different planet. The name Socotra is derived from a Sanskrit name which means ‘The Island of Bliss’.
The climate is harsh, hot, and dry, but the most amazing plant life thrives in this island. This island has very diverse flora and fauna that can only be found in this island. Only here will you see a Centipede that eats flesh as well as a myriad of reptiles and birds. There are also the Dragon's Blood trees, which are an unusual sight. There is also the Desert Rose, which looks like nothing so much as a blooming elephant leg. Along with plants, this island is a birder's paradise as well, containing 140 different species of birds, ten of which are not found anywhere else in the world.
A unique Socotra warbler, sunbird, starling, bunting, sparrow, and Cisticola are among the birds found here. Getting around can be a challenge because there are almost no roads. UNESCO has declared this island a World Natural Heritage Site. A camel ride is the easiest way to enjoy the beauty of this site along with a good guide.
Wadi Dhahr is located near Sana’a. It has many local species of inland birds but particularly interesting is the mule track from Shibam up to Kawkaban. Along this 45-minute walk, you will see Tristram's Grackle, larks, wheatears and doves at the bottom, and eagles, ravens and vultures at the top. There is also a wide variety of flowering plants where water trickles through cracks in the rock. There is a famous rock palace in the village of Suq al-Wadi. It is a classic example of Yemeni architecture and was built in 1786 by Imam Mansour Ali Bin Mahdi Abbas.
It was further extended as a summer residence in 1930 by Imam Yahya Hamid Al. These days the palace is an open museum and a very popular place to visit for tourists as well as for local Yemeni families. All the rooms have descriptive labels in English as well as Arabic. However, the main attractions are the magnificent rooftop views and the stunning stained-glass windows. There is also a village, Qaryat al- Qabil, with its walled pathways, orchards and vineyards that attract a lot of tourists. You will fall in love with the beauty of this place. The surrounding countryside containing pretty little villages is also a fun place to explore.
Shibam is often called ‘the oldest skyscraper city in the world’. Surrounded by a fortified wall, Shibam is one of the oldest and best examples of vertical construction. Its impressive towers rise out of the cliff and hence resulted in the nickname ‘the Manhattan of Desert’. At first glance the scene might seem like a mirage: hundreds of towering buildings clustered together like a miniature Manhattan, rising out of the Yemeni Desert.
Shibam is the oldest skyscraper metropolis in the world, providing a rare glimpse into how ancient cultures adapted to some of the most unforgiving weather conditions on Earth. The towers were constructed beginning in the 16th century. Shibam is also included in the UNESCO's World Heritage List. This is not an archeological site, but a living city which contains the treasures of buildings of clay and stones, as well as buildings of wood. The domestic architecture of this city includes functional designs, materials and construction techniques representing an outstanding expression of Arab and Muslim Traditional Cultures.
Old City of Sana'a
The name Sana'a is derived from a South Arabian term meaning well fortified. Sana’a is the most beautiful city in Yemen and in the Arabian Peninsula. It is a fantastic city with matchless architectural style and hence included on the UNESCO's World Heritage List. It is the capital city of the Republic of Yemen and lies in the heart of Yemen's highlands. In the Old City of Sana'a around 14,000 tower-houses rise up six or seven stories high. The traditional social structures of Yemen partly define the way in which a house is built. The technique of building combines skills from many generations to produce a creative structure in the use of space and light.
Sana’a is one of the ancient Yemen cities dating back to the Sabean dynasty. Qasr as-Silha, which was rebuilt on the establishment of Islam, can be seen today with many of its walls still standing. Visitors are always impressed by its fortifications, architecture, and gardens. In Sana’a there are more than 50 mosques, The Great Mosque is particularly worth visiting. There are about 15 steam baths which are a fundamental feature of the city. It is advisable to visit the old village, Bait Baws, which is located 7km to the south of Sana’a. The village is naturally fortified with only one entrance to the south with existing inscriptions.
Aden is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Yemen and it is known for its wonderful beaches, old buildings, impregnable castles, and many souks. It is the economic capital of Yemen. Aden's ancient natural harbor, Front Bay, was first used by the ancient Kingdom of Awsan between the 5th and 7th centuries and hence holds great historical importance. You can learn a lot about this in the Aden Museum. Aden City includes a number of islands in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. The city of Aden is surrounded by a series of walls and towers dating back more than one thousand years. They were built over time by several dynasties.
Sira Fort is the symbol of safety of Aden city. Al–Talwahi port is the modern port constructed by the British, and is slightly different from Aden’s old port near Sira Citadel but is still a gorgeous sight. After visiting the port, guides will take you to the famous Al–Talwilah Cisterns. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as there will be a lot of walking. The best place to take photos is from a high location after the end of the path on the left side of the mountain. The highest and greatest of the mountains surrounding Aden is Shamsan, which was also known as Irr Mountain in the past.
The city of Ibb is built on the mountain of Jabal Ba’adan. The city was founded during the reign of the Himyarite Kingdom. It is best known for agriculture so it is also called “the green province.” The old city of Ibb makes for a pleasant, ambling walk. Most of the roads cannot be reached by cars which give it a different feeling from the rest of the city. The houses are built differently from those of other Yemeni cities, as it uses stone blocks, the difference makes it well- loved by tourists. There are several important mosques in the old city of Ibb and one of the mosques dates back to the time of the second Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khatab, in the seventh century.
Sumarra Pass Road, which is 500 m above sea level, is considered one of the most beautiful mountainous areas of Yemen. About 40 km west of the city center of Ibb, there is s an attractive tourist area named Al-Udaun. It is blessed with fertile wadis, the most important of which is Wadi Al-Dour. You will even find a museum at the entrance of Dhofar village. It includes a valuable collection of antiquities. There are several hot mineral springs in different areas of Ibb City. The springs are loved by tourists and many people visit these springs in search of recovery from skin diseases, Rheumatism, digestive system issues, blindness and many other conditions.
The Historic town of Zabid
Domestic and military architecture and urban planning make Zabid an outstanding archeological and historical site and it is included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The city played a significant role in the Arab and Muslim world for many centuries because of its Islamic university. Zabid was also known as Al Haseeb. The new name was given to it due to its existence in Wadi Zabid. It is between two Wadis from the south, Wadi Zabid and Wadi Rema’a from the north. It is located on the medium hill of Wadi Zabid.
The town is circular in shape and it was surrounded by a wall of four gates named Bab of Al-Shabriq from the east, Bab of Al-Nakhi from the west, Bab of Al-Qartab from the south, Bab of siham from the north. The town of Zabid is one of the most famous religious and scientific centers not only of Yemen, but also all over the Islamic world. It contains 53 Koran schools and 29 mosques, the most famous of which are Al-Asha’ir mosque built by Abu Musa Al-Asha’airi. Zabid was also a center for the weaving, dyeing and tanning industries. Al–Faza Beach is a beautiful natural port surrounded by high palm trees and clean beaches containing many sweet water fountains.
The Shihara Suspended Bridge
The Shihara Suspended Bridge is an incredible sight to behold. This beautiful and famous bridge was built during the 17th century. It plays a vital role in connecting two villages: Shihara Al-Qaish and Shihara Al-Amir. There is also a Sunday Market here which is a popular tourist destination. After taking plenty of pictures on this bridge, you can visit the Kawbakan City, which is a great place to go shopping. Here, you will find many beautiful semi-precious stones set in beautiful gold or silver jewelries. This market will make your visit to this country very memorable, and is a great place to pick up some souvenirs.