Unexplored Socotra offers you the logistic support to visit Sana’a and sourrondings, with walking guided tours in the old city and transfer by car/bus to wadi Dhar. Other options are also available, just ask.
According to legend, Sana’a was founded by Noah’s son Sam, and is considered to be the world’s oldest town. The old center of the Yemeni capital city belongs to those from the UNESCO distinguished cultural heritage of the human race, because of its unique fully preserved architecture. A round trip through the old city will allow you to experience the bustle beyond the Bab al Yemen in Souq, and the peace and quite within the area of the living quarters. The visit to artisan centers and the ascent onto the roof of one of the typical tower houses will provide a wonderful view across the old buildings. Visit to the main mosque and historical museum will complete the essential visit of the town. The mosque is considered one of the world’s oldest Islamic houses, which had been built during the lifetime of the prophet Muhammad. During renovation work, concealed scripts were found, these belonging to the oldest and most precious Islamic documents in the world. A visit to the recently renovated museum, which is resident in one of the old Imams palaces, takes one even further back into the history of Yemen.
The wadi Dhar is a fruitful valley populated since early times and situated not far from Sana’a. The famous rock palace is elevated on a singular rock of the Dar al-Hajjar. At one time, it was the summer residence of the last Imams Yahiya, and subsequent to careful renovation work, offers visitors from all over the world an impressive example of architecture from the Yemeni mountainous area.
During its period of prosperity, Al Mukalla was named the “white town”. Traces of this past era can still be found within some of the buildings in the older part of the town, which is situated on a small peninsular in front of the current town centre. Well worth taking a look at are the wooden doors decorated with numerous cuttings. The former Sultans-Palace, in which a museum can be found, lies at the end of the waterside promenade. The small exhibition displays interesting exhibits from old South Arabian and Prehistoric times. For a few hundred years, Mukalla was the junction between the 300 kilometre distant Wadi Hadramaut and the trading branch offices of Asia. For this reason, the decorations on the houses of Mukalla have a definite Indian influence. Even the residents of the Hadramaut are affected by multi-ethnic influence. Arabs, Africans, and Asians are all at home here. Nowadays, Al Mukalla is Yemen’s boomtown. On the mountains and hills within a distance of 30 – 50 kilometres of the town, building is taking place without tire. Within a period of five years, the town’s area has increased to more than 20 times its size.
Kawkaban and Shibam
At the foot of a steep sloping reddish-yellow sandstone cliff is the town of Shibam . This is the location of one of the oldest mosques in Yemen. Each week, one of the regions largest weekly markets takes place here, whereby most of the products are agricultural. In the 350-metre higher-up twin town of Kawkaban, pillar remains, frieze, and stones with script in the modern houses, point to the glamorous Sabaian and Himyarite past. Alone the location of the town is impressive. Impregnable, and situated on the steep slopes of the plateau, Kawkaban served as a former haven for the residents of lower fruitful levels. Kawkaban was a safe stronghold due to being surrounded by a high wall and being accessible through only one solid door. Up to a few years ago, no roads at all led to this location, one was only able to travel there by either walking or riding on a donkey. One of these old pathways still connects Kawkaban to Shibam, and the well-developed stairway offers a splendid view of the area whilst making the one-hour walking-tour.
The old part of the small town of Thula is still surrounded by the completely preserved wall made up of rubble. In an adventurous manner, the houses seem to grow out of the rock face, and small alleys wind around the towering houses of up to six stories in height. The richly decorated facades of the town situated at the foot of the Kawkaban plateau, display wealth based on trading and agriculture. One of Thula’s attractions is its children, who with their charm and overpowering fluency of speech, offer visitors an array of souvenirs for purchase. A conspicuous, characteristically formed rock pinnacle also dominates the location.