Wednesday, May 23, 2012

#985 Sanaa, Yemen

One of the oldest continually inhabited places on the planet, and on the recent news for its protests and government clampdowns, Sanaa should not be known for infamy, because it is a magical city of ancient alleys and beautiful architecture, famous for it's 'icing cake' buildings. Desert mountains frame the cityscape of mosques and minarets glowing in the afternoon sun.

Yemen is a place that has been very little influenced by the outside world. Most women still wear complete black abayas, and most men still meet in the afternoons to chew Qat and converse with their friends in the public squares. To have history so preserved (good or bad depending on the perspective) is a fascinating thing to experience. There are very few high rises, technology is rare, and people truly live as they have for millenia. The view from the rooftops, while drinking tea and watching life go by is a unique experience.

We loved the fact that the main road through the city is along the bottom of the riverbed, which is only filled with water for a small part of the year. We loved staying in an ancient hotel with meter-thick walls and tiny windows looking down on the alleys, up a winding set of ancient steps embedded in the walls. 

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