On my public Facebook page I’ve written about Sudan and the marsas that creep into their desolate, bleak landscape from the Red Sea. As long as my mind was in that part of the world, I thought I would look at Sana’a here. It’s the capital of Yemen, one of several countries around the world torn apart by war at the moment. I can only hope the Saudis don’t bomb the old city.
It’s one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world—over 2,500 years. And certainly one of the most interesting architecturally.
Example of Sana’a architecture.
“Although rebuilt, renovated, and added to over the eons, it retained the feeling of a centuries-old settlement. The buildings were from five to nine stories tall, starting with stonework, then mounted with clay bricks and decorated with light-colored plaster trimming the windows and doors. It was as if the brown-red land was molded together in tall box-like formations and then extensively decorated with the most intricate, delicate, and graceful white icing accenting various features. This embellishment contained small traditional Arabic details of vines, flowers, and geometric designs.”
This had once been the Imam’s palace, now a museum and just on the outskirts of Sana’a. You can see how it’s built into the rock.
“The old city was also fascinating for the glimpse of life lived there. The plazas and walking streets pulsated with activity, conversation, the business of living.” Excerpts from Voice of a Voyage: Rediscovering the World During a Ten-year Circumnavigation.
A busy walking street, except for motorcycles, scooters, and, of course, wheelbarrows filled with garlic.
The main gate entrance to the old city. Below a photo taken by Lillian Duckworth. She and her husband are cruising friends from Europe, who were anchored in Aden when we were and so traveled to Sana’a together.
I wonder how many of the people in my photos and the friends we made in Yemen are still alive?
Our trip getting there was not without incident. I’ll tell you about that in my next blog.