Urbndervish here. Yesterday we took a trip to Sana’a Qadeem (“Old Sana’a”) which was about a ten minute drive from our place. The demarcation line that differentiates Sana’a Qadeem from Sana’a Jadeed (“New Sana’a”) is the ancient, century-old architecture of Sana’a Qadeem and the KFC’s (No product endorsement here) and such of the Sana’a Jadeed!
We visited a good brother (Let’s call him “Mystic Lover”) and his family and they showed us the ancient environs. Don’t let the adjective fool you; Old Sana’a has many modern contrivances as well! It is an interesting contrast to see a 200 year old building with a “Western-style” toilet (which basically means a commode) and an “Eastern-style” toilet (which is basically a porcelain hole in the ground). Initially I thought that Yemen only had the Eastern-style toilets, which would’ve meant for me uncomfortable…um… elimination and massive, muscular quadriceps as a result. Those of you with Eastern-style toilets know what I’m talkin bout!
Mystic Lover’s family were gracious hosts and, typical of Eastern hospitality, fed us till food came out of our ears! We had good discussions about various topics and in between our words, popped Yemeni grapes in our mouths like juicy Tic-Tacs (No product endorsement here). By the way, Mystic Lover taught me that one CAN eat grape seeds. His logic: “Why spend all of that time taking the seeds out of your mouth?” Hypothetical? Indeed!
I really loved the houses there in Sana’a Qadeem! The inside of Mystic Lover’s house was another blend of classic simplicity and modern amenities! The houses there are built to last with almost 16 in. thick, stone walls! It’s like 70’s polyester clothes: antiquated but enduring. Be careful, though! Some of the inside doors were apparently built for hobbits! Eternitysojourner bumped her head twice!
One of the other beautiful sites in Sana’a Qadeem is the Qubbat al-Mahdi (lit. “the Guided One’s Dome”). A qubbat is a mosque built in proximity to a holy personality’s tomb (but not on top). “Al-Mahdi” refers to one of these holy personalities of Yemen’s history. The architecture of the Qubbat is unique in that it has a fortress-like entrance with brick floors on the outside (called the “haram”). The inside of the mosque was carpeted with an elaborate design and the walls were lined with Qur’ans.
Insha-Allah (God willing), I’m looking forward to returning to Sana’a Qadeem to partake in the ancient cities rich cultural legacy by seeing more places, and to partake in delectable delight of eating more of Mystic Lover’s wife’s killer pasta! :9
Well, we’re getting ready to split. Look for more pictures of Old Sana’a. We plan to go many more times, insha-Allah (God willing).