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Encyclopedia > Sanaa

SanaŠ (Arabic صنعاء, romanized as Ṣanʻāʼ, and also known as Sana or Sana'a), population 1,303,000 (2000), is the capital of Yemen. It is the center of a grape growing region. SanaŠ has been settled from pre-Islamic times; it was under Ethiopian rule in the 6th century. The city was occupied several times by Turkey. After 1918, when Yemen's independence was reestablished, SanaŠ became its capital. The capital was moved to Taiz in 1948, but returned to SanaŠ in 1962.


"La budda min Ṣanʻāʼ" (SanaŠ must be seen) are famous words first attributed to Imam Muḥammad ibn Idris al-Shafiʼi (768-820) who visited the ancient capital several times.


The city of SanaŠ is an Islamic cultural center, and there is a Muslim university and many mosques.


Many travelers in ancient days were impressed by the beauty of SanaŠ. The well-known Yemeni geographer and historian Al Hamdani marveled at the cleanliness of the city:

The least dwelling there has a well or two, a garden and long cesspits separate from each other, empty of ordure, without smell or evil odors, because of the hard concrete(adobe and Cob probably) and fine pasture-land and clean places to walk.

The Persian traveller Ibn Rustah a contemporary of Al Hamdani noted its food,

It is the city of Yemen—there not being found ... a city greater, more populous or more prosperous, of nobler origin or more delicious food than it ...

External link

  • A rather huge pdf ebook about SanaŠ, which can be viewed for free (http://www.worditude.com/ebooks/unescopdf/sana_eng.pdf)

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