Every city in Yemen has remnants of ancient history. With so much to explore, also understand the culture and civilization of those times. You get to experience it live when you visit these places and how they influenced the shaping of contemporary Yemeni culture. A country with a rich cultural history that dates back to thousands of years shaped the modern Yemen of today. Yet relics of yore are still present for a traveler like you to check out and know. You will be surprised at how well preserved these heritage sites are and the number of people all over the world who flock to see them.
The most popular ones being…
The ancient tombs of Sanaa
If you are an avid history buff, you get to see old graves that date back to the Paleolithic age. You get to observe something that goes back to 40,000 years. As a tourist, you will find these graves in the Al-Mahwit region, which happens to be close to Sanaa. Many such graves have gotten discovered in this area. It is an eyeopener to know the ancient rituals of burials for the dead and how they performed with very little means. And it one of the biggest historical finds of an era that we know so little about and forms a fascinating part of our evolution.
The bottle trees found in Socotra island
Spotting trees of the usual kind on Socotra Island’s rocky terrain will hold you captivated because you wouldn’t have spotted such bottle trees, which get mostly found in desert-like regions. A slender crown and stout trunk make these trees nature’s wonder. The trunk is said to bulge out because it contains water for the plant to sustain during the arid months. The trees have a couple of twigs at the top with several leaves. You would be lucky to catch these trees during blossom as they appear picturesque amid the setting sun.
The Al-Saleh Mosque in Sanaa
The Al-Saleh mosque is composed of six minarets and nine domes. The mosques hold a VIP area along with two external praying yards. With well-maintained landscaped gardens add to the grandeur of the place. The mosque is an aesthetically built-in Yemeni architectural style that caters to the urban worshippers with in-house water reservoirs, parking space for cars, etc. this modern mosque happens to be one of the largest places of worship in Yemen, with a capacity of 44,000 people at one time. You can find the picture of this mosque on the Yemeni currency on the 250 Rial note.
The Gulf of Aden in Aden City
The amazing fact of the Gulf of Aden is that it lies in between the African continent and the Arab Peninsula. This makes it so desirable for trade and commerce as it also connects the Red Sea in the West and the Arabian Sea in the east. You can check out the largest coastline as it lies within the territories of three different nations, Somalia to the south, Djibouti to the east, and Yemen to the North. The Gulf is part of Aden city which was the temporary capital. You could hire boats and check out, tour the coastline and view other tiny fishing boats that dot the place. There is a lot of places wherein you could catch a grub and check out the nearby places.
The Shaharah Bridge
The bridge got constructed to prevent an invasion in the 17th century. It connects two mountains, Jabal al emir and Jabal Faish. Limestone got used in making the bridge, and since it leads to the town of Shaharah, it got named after the place. A bridge got built so that people living on either side of the two mountains could go back and forth easily. However, the primary reason for making the bridge was so that the destruction of the bridge was possible in the case of another invasion. The town of Shaharah itself seems fortified and the entry point to the town is through the bridge only. It is an adventurous trek to the bridge, which is also known as ‘Bridge of Sighs’ due to the amazement of the onlookers at construction joining two mountains seems to have left many speechless.
The Historic City of Thula
This place has a heritage list tag and you definitely cannot miss this well-preserved village near Sanaa. The medieval town got constructed in the 6th century, based near a cliff. You will find five-storey houses with several narrow lanes enclosed by a city wall with many watchtowers. The entire city got built of stone and you will find mosques, mausoleums, souk, pools, hammams, including a former Imam’s palace. Those interested in historical events and facts can check out the huge rock architecture, which has gotten revealed in the Sabean era relics.
The Archeological site of Ma’rib
Sabeans were the ancient people who founded Marib, which got built on an oasis. It was a trade route for frankincense and myrrh in the region. You can still find the great dam of Ma’ribwhich helped irrigate the city when there was rainfall. The city was known for impressive tower houses and dwellings, which are now only remain as mounds. A large temple complex houses the Awwam Temple consisting of eight large pillars dedicated to the deity Saba Almaqah.
The Madrasa of Amiriya Rada
The madrasa is a religious, educational institution situated in the town of Rada. It is considered a heritage site and was built in the year 1504 by the last ruler of the Tahrid dynasty. There was a need to restore this place which enabled the structure to have a waterproof interior and plastering done externally. The significant space in this madrasa was the prayer hall which was highly ornamental and consisted of the tempera wall paintings of that era. The courtyard also houses a private living quarter for the Sultan. Though the restoration was done with the help of modern revivalists of architecture, local artisans chipped in to get back the original grandeur of the place.
The Yemeni Fortress in Sanaa
The Sira fortress was built in the 11th century yet used to this date as a military site by Yemeni armed forces. You will find this fortress on a rocky and tall volcanic island. The island has a dominant old harbor, the fort got built to prevent attacks that happened during that time and the harbor continued to develop subsequently for trade and commerce. It’s a great place to check out as you will learn about a fortress more than 1000 years old with a great historical significance in being one of the safeguard places for the Sultan. You get to view the remains of the once glorious castle. You will be amazed at the prosperity of the rulers of that era.
Also Read: An Unlikely Tourist Destination: Salalah
There are several wonderful places to explore in Yemen which are equally pleasing to the eye and mind. Since many of them of being in around the major cities, it’s easier to reach them. Many of the places allow you a good chance to trek and explore on foot. It also gives the opportunity to get the feel of the nearby villages and have a peek at how life and living is in Yemen