Yemen cannot be called one of the most explored destinations among the other countries in the region, but it is obviously not because it lacks interesting sites. It’s just not adapted to the traditional tourist approaches, as the climate is not that great here and there are not many places where you will find well-developed infrastructure. But the fans of extreme leisure will definitely enjoy the place. The contrast of the local high-top mountains with their appealing slopes, majestic desert and Bab-el-Mandeb are just a few things you will be able to find in this lost oasis. The architectural elegance and detailed approach are other things to get excited when visiting Yemen.
The capital of the state is Sana. It is assumed to be one of the first sites of human settlement, as the locals believe that this is the first settlement founded by Shem, the son of Noah after the Great Flood, while the scientists claim that the places was found in the second century AC. Around 40 years ago the place was still surrounded by high walls, which were removed to make it more of an appealing place with green fields. The population of the place is now more than one million, but Sana has mostly preserved its original appearance. The political and economical center of the country has an outstanding “Old Town” part. It’s one of the largest old places for the entire Arabic world. Most of the buildings date back to the 15th-16th centuries. This is why they have typical old style facades, are decorated with borders and special windows. Special attention needs to be paid to the minarets built with all sort of classical architectural details. The city has about 40 mosques, and each one has something to charm with its unique style and charm.
One of the most magnetizing parts of Sana is the central market called Souk al-Mil. It is not a single place, but rather a cool combination of about 40 small markets. Each part of it is specialized in something from veggies up to pottery and silver. Also one should make sure to visit the local university, which is one of the oldest universities in the world, the National Museum in Da Al-Shukr Palace, the Museum of Arts and Military Museum. Those are the three places where you’ll get a chance to learn more about Yemen, its origins and history, as well as learn how to respect and communicate with the locals.
Only in a few kilometers from Sana you will find Raida, which is known for its vineyards. Here you can taste the local wine and have a look at the few medieval mosques and the local palace, which currently serves as a hotel.
Al-Bayda province is a bit far from the capital, but it’s worth a visit. The central city of it is popular with the El-Amir Mosque. The mosque is located in the center of the old town and is surrounded with walls. Now the mosque is under governmental protection. It is believed to be the most typical Yemeni architectural piece. The next thing to see here is the urban Rada. Most of the cities in Yemen are dotted with houses built of stone or sun-baked bricks of mud and straw. In contrast to this, the parliament building is made of special handling bricks, which are coated with gray clay.
The most southern province of the state is located on the slopes of Mount Sabir. It is the old city of Taiz. It’s the only place, which offers a bit of milder climate. It’s the home place for the traditional Yemeni coffee, which is no longer the main industry here. The place is now famous for larger industrial points and especially jewelry. It’s known also as the cultural center of the state. Some part of the “Old Town” is preserved here and thus you will find a lot of ancient buildings in the shade of the newer ones.
Aden, which is also known as a crater, is located in the crater of an extinct volcano, the caldera of which forms a protected harbor of the city.
The west coast of Yemen is hosting Kamaran Island, which is considered to be one of the calmest and most stunning places of the country. It is surrounded with powerful system of coral reefs, has a rich marine life, including 140 species of colorful tropical fish, a dozen species of coral and fine finishing with extensive areas of mangroves and therefore it’s very popular among divers.