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Frequently regarded as one of the oldest and most inhabited cities, Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, has long served as a basis of attraction for tourists seeking to explore the very essence of Islamic culture. Boasting spellbinding attractions like the Old Sanaa, the Great Mosque, captivating museums, exotic souqs and not to mention, fascinating age-old attractions that are sure to take you on a mesmerizing journey through time, the city of Sanaa has a whole lot more in store for holiday seekers.
Start off your journey with a visit to the Old City of Sanaa that prides in being ranked in UNESCO's World Heritage Listed sites. You will first be greeted by a massive 1000 year old gate holding great historical significance called Bab Al-Yemen, with its surrounding ancient walls that perfectly stand erect to date. The gate will lead you into the frenzy of a bustling marketplace that has existed here for centuries. The Old City of Sanaa is a perfect depiction of early settlements with its beautifully designed concoction of multi-story tower houses, intricately designed in Yemeni architectural styles and set amongst narrow alleys. A number of old mosques and public hammams are special features of the site. The fact that Yemen has been one of the oldest inhabited parts of the earth is also dominant by the presence of several age-old tombs with some dating back to the Paleolithic era. Take a trip to Al-Mahwit area located close to Sanaa to stand witness to some of the oldest tombs that you will ever come across. For a commercial shopping trip, the central market of Souk Al Milh ranges everything; from ornaments, clothing and antiques to everyday eatables and staple diet.
Sanaa's stunning Al-Saleh Mosque has 160 meters-tall minarets, two smaller minarets and the four huge domes are all a perfect depiction of the beauty and the extravagance of the Yemeni architectural style. Al Khair mosque is another major mosque set in a commercial neighborhood. A further insight into the prevailing age-old arts and culture of this spectacular country can be explored with a visit to Sanaa's museums. The Yemen Military Museum has displays of age old traditional weaponry as well as the change in progress of military technology in weaponry.The Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts houses a beautiful collection of costumes, accessories, domestic décor, jewelry and other ornaments that feature Yemen's gorgeous traditions that have carried on for centuries. The National Museum of Yemen has been housed into a former palace popularly known as the Dar-as-Sada or the House of Happiness. A trip to this museum will take you on a quick detour of the various dynasties that have prevailed on this land, dating back to pre-Christianity Era. Similarly, the Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts is located in the Dar Al Shukr Palace (the house of Gratefulness). Other prominent palaces which mark the cityscape and are still intact are the Dar Al Hajar, erected on a gigantic rock within the central plains, and the Ghumdan Tower Palace, the tallest of the palaces with a tower structure in the area. A non-governmental initiative to propel Yemeni traditions is the House of Folklore, housing public gatherings in the diplomatic zone for folklore based events. Sightseeing tours towards the countryside can lead one to the ancient and remote village of Thilaa, and the Jabal An Nabi, the highest mountain of Arabia forming the backdrop to the entire landscape.
NOTE: all travel to Yemen is strongly discouraged in light of the country undergoing recent civil unrest.
Some of the leading airlines offering low airfares for flights to Sanaa from UK are Saudi Arabian Airlines, Egypt Air, Gulf Air and Qatar Airways. Turkish Airlines and Emirates are also facilitating connecting flights to this destination from London.
No airline is facilitating a direct itinerary between London and Sanaa.
Average flight time for flights to Sanaa from London is 10 hours 30 minutes.
El Rahaba Airport is the main airport serving the city of Sanaa, located at a distance of approximately 17km from the main commercial centre.
One of the main modes of transportation for reaching the city is via the yellow taxis. These will be available on the ground floor upon exiting the airport's terminal. Cars can also be rented from the car rental company booths located inside the airport's terminal building.
Sanaa is a large capital city and therefore relies on multiple modes of transport for getting around. Taxis are usually predominantly used by locals and tourists, and can be hailed on the streets or pre-booked via a telephone call. Many hotels also offer this facility of hailing a taxi for you. Mini-buses called “Dubabs” are also commonly used as a public transport option. However, this will be more convenient if you are familiar with the local Arabic language. Another predominant mode of transport being used in Sanaa is the motor-cycle taxis. These should be hailed especially when deciding to tour the Old City of Sanaa given the narrow winding alleys of this city are inaccessible for the taxis or cars to traverse through. A number of car rental companies are also available in downtown city center of Sanaa.
Sanaa houses a number of accommodation options to suit the varied tastes and budget of all travelers. Options include extravagant hotels, bed and breakfasts and specialty lodgings. Most accommodations in Sanaa are especially designed to replicate the exquisite Yemini architectural style and design while some are remodeled into gorgeous resorts to get the feel of this ancient city. Facilities include pools, restaurants specializing in local and international cuisines, fast internet connectivity and bars. Lodges designed with local traditions are located towards the old town area, having large courtyards and verandahs which serve as dining areas. They also provide large suites and deluxe rooms with highly comfy furnishing and bedding. Tahrir area specializes in the budget category of facilitating deluxe rooms, while the new town area houses all the international hotel chains consisting of towers and apartments. On the high-end scale, Sanaa not only offers some of the leading international chain of luxury hotels, but also a number of extravagant local hotels specializing in luxurious living coupled with an impeccable service.
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