Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
View photos from OUR PLACE the World Heritage collection

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1986
Size of heritage:

Longitude: 44,208°
Latitude: 15,356°


Situated in a mountain valley at an altitude of 2,200 m, Sana’a has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. In the 7th and 8th centuries the city became a major centre for the propagation of Islam. This religious and political heritage can be seen in the 103 mosques, 14 hammams and over 6,000 houses, all built before the 11th century. Sana’a’s many-storeyed tower-houses built of rammed earth (pisé) add to the beauty of the site.

Location on Map

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Old City of Sana'a: A Timeless Treasure in Yemen

The Old City of Sana'a, located in the Governorate of the capital Sana'a, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that holds a rich history and cultural significance. This ancient city, dating back over 2,500 years, is a testament to the architectural and cultural heritage of Yemen.


The history of the Old City of Sana'a is intertwined with the rise and fall of various civilizations. It was originally founded by the Sabaean dynasty in the 1st millennium BCE and later became an important center for trade and culture along the Incense Route. The city flourished under the rule of the Himyarite Kingdom and subsequently the Islamic Caliphate.

Throughout its history, Sana'a was influenced by various dynasties, including the Ayyubids, Rasulids, and Ottomans. These influences are reflected in the diverse architectural styles found within the city, blending elements of Islamic, Persian, and Ottoman design.

Current State

The Old City of Sana'a is a living testament to the past, with its labyrinthine streets, towering mud-brick buildings, and intricate architectural details. However, this UNESCO World Heritage site is facing numerous challenges that threaten its preservation.

One of the main challenges is the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which has resulted in damage to many historical sites, including the Old City of Sana'a. The city has been heavily affected by airstrikes and shelling, causing destruction to its ancient buildings and infrastructure.

Additionally, the traditional building techniques used in the construction of the city, such as the use of sun-dried mud bricks, make it vulnerable to decay and erosion. The lack of proper maintenance and restoration efforts further exacerbates the deterioration of the buildings.

Despite these challenges, there have been efforts to preserve and protect the Old City of Sana'a. UNESCO, in collaboration with local authorities and international organizations, has been working towards safeguarding the site. Emergency stabilization projects have been initiated to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of the remaining structures.

Furthermore, the local community plays a vital role in the preservation of the Old City. The residents have a deep connection to their heritage and actively participate in the maintenance and restoration of their homes. Traditional craftsmanship is passed down through generations, ensuring the continuation of the unique architectural techniques and decorative arts.

The Old City of Sana'a continues to captivate visitors with its timeless charm and cultural significance. Its narrow streets, bustling markets, and stunning architecture provide a glimpse into the rich history of Yemen. Efforts to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage site are crucial to safeguarding the cultural heritage of not only Yemen but also the world.

In conclusion, the Old City of Sana'a stands as a testament to the architectural and cultural heritage of Yemen. Despite the challenges it faces, the city remains a timeless treasure that deserves recognition and preservation for future generations to appreciate and learn from.

Hotels and places to stay

Mercure Sanaa Al Saeed Hotel

Distance: 1,3 mi
PO BOX 5270 Al Zubery St

Time Information

Checkout: 12:00 - Checkin: 12:00
Weekday: 0:00 - 24:00
Weekend: 0:00 - 24:00

Videos from the area

Sana'a; most beautiful city in the world

Published: March 01, 2013
Length: 12:57 min
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Taco Petri

Sana'a is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The old city of Sana'a is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Capital of Yemen. Share if you like...

Bruno Blanchet - Globe-Trotter Académie 5/10 (Sanaa, Yémen)

Published: June 11, 2013
Length: 53:07 min
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: CorrosionX4

Journey to Yemen

Published: October 05, 2013
Length: 37:47 min
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Ismail Al.Mahdi

Yemen is a beautiful and historical place to visit. This short film only shows just a little about what is Yemen . Big thanks to Zakaria for being the hero of this short film. I hope you...

Yemen Leader Apologizes to US for Embassy Attack

Published: September 13, 2012
Length: 14:03 min
Rating: 2 of 5
Author: Associated Press

Yemen's president has apologized to President Barack Obama for the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, by a mob angry over an anti-Islam film. (Sept. 13)

Dar al-Hajar- Sana'a, Yemen || دار الحجر- صنعاء اليمن

Published: November 25, 2012
Length: 00:23 min
Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Shehab AL-Areedh

Dar al-Hajar- Sana'a, Yemen|| دار الحجر- صنعاء اليمن You'll find this mansion near Sana'a in eastern Yemen. Although the current structure was built in the early 1900s, there...

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