Old City of Sana’a, glory and pride Part 1 [Archives:2004/700/Last Page]

January 5 2004

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
While welcoming the New Year and especially after Sana'a being crowned cultural capital of the Arab world, the city is dressing up gaudily awaiting its visitors and friends. For the country is expecting many intellectuals, artists and literature people as well as politicians to visit Yemen during this year in order to participate in the exhibitions and cultural celebrations on the occasion of Sana'a Arab Cultural Capital 2004.
The events planned to take place during this year include exhibitions for poetry, fine arts, theater, story and cinema. It also includes four international conferences and four assemblies, four seminars and 13 various exhibitions and more than 11 cultural caravans coming from various governorates of the republic of Yemen.
The city is depending on its long history and ancient civilization in order to make this celebration special and different from all previous cultural capitals.
Sana'a is one of the oldest cities in the world it's almost more than two thousand years old and possesses rich civilization. Ancient engravings in the historical sights indicate many of the pre-Islamic civilizations such as Saba and Himiar and also the post-Islamic civilizations. The city is located on a plateau of around 2150 meters above sea level and its inhabitants total to be two million inhabitants. It has a moderate climates which is characterized by a relatively high temperature difference between night and day that could reach more than 18 degrees centigrade in summer as the day is around could be more than 30 degrees going down to 12 at night whereas in the winter it could be two degrees and some times drops down to minus 6 at night.
The city is of the most significant cities in history for it was one of the Saba kingdom cities, the kingdom that was mentioned in many of the old sculptures and engravings although archeological scientists could not agree exactly on the date of its establishment, however, evidence indicate that it was the first city established post the great flood founded by Sam son of Noah (mpboh) therefore the name; Sam, or city of Sam. The city is also named after Azal son of Yaqtin son of al-Eaid son of Amir son of Shalikh grandson of Sam. The name Azal was mentioned in the Torah, the holy book for Jews, and also history books confirmed the existence of kingdoms of Saba, Qataban was in the same city. Historian also indicate that the city started by a few houses and then it grew into a small village and eventually into a secure city, whereas other historians say that it was a trade station where most caravans and trade roots passed by especially those carrying gum and incense. Another factor that aided its prosperity during those times is the rich and fertile land in which agriculture was of the basic industries. All these factors led to the city being a significant part of the Arabian Peninsula. And although not much information is available about it, yet it is agreed that the city and throughout many centuries managed to survive and to remain strong and important.