The YCMES is located in Sanaa the capital of Yemen. Sanaa is located in the mountains at an elevation of around 2250 meters (7400 feet).
3 Bab Al Yemen The famous Bab Al-Yemen (Door of Yemen) is the gate to the Old City of Sanaa. Until about 30 years ago the entire city of Sanaa was enclosed within this wall. Now the Old City is home to a large and lovely suq (market). 4 Sanaa The Yemeni capital Sanaa dates back to the Sabaean Dynasty in the 6th Century BC. The Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies is conveniently located in this fascinating historical city. 5 Sanaa The old city of Sanaa contains many fascinating examples of traditional archecture. The tower homes are constructed of volcanic rock red brick and mud and detailed in with gypsum the tallest at 9 stories. 6 Old Sanaa Old Sanaa is considered by many historians to be the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world. It has many layers of history but since around 628 has been a Muslim city. The city lies 2200 meters above the sea (over 7000 feet). 7 Old Sanaa This ancient fortified city has been inhabited for more than 2500 years and contains a wealth of intact architectural gems. It was declared a World Heritage City in 1984 with 103 mosques 14 hammams and over 6000 houses. 8 Inside the Great Mosque There are more then 100 mosques in the city of Sanaa. The call to prayer is not fully synchronized producing an eerily beautiful echoing melody. The Great Mosque (shown here) is one of the oldest mosques in Yemen renovated by the famous queen Arwa bint Ahmed but originally said to have been built during the life of the Prophet Muhammad. 9 Suq in Old Sanaa The large suq in the Old City of Sanaa is renowned for its beauty and the variety of its colors scents sights and sounds. The suq al-maadin metal market is pictured here. 10 Spice Suq One of the most popular attractions is Suq al-Milh (Salt Market) where it is possible to buy not only salt but also bread spices raisins cotton copper pottery silverware antiques and a host of other goods. The historic suq in the Old City has been used as a market for over 1000 years and is still flourishing today. 11 Jambiyas A jambiya is a short dagger worn by men in Yemen. Jambiyas are constituted of a handle a blade and a sheath in which the blade is held. They come in many shapes colors and materials indicating the wearers rank and affiliations. 12 Traditional Yemeni Lunch The midday meal is the main meal of the day in Yemen. Traditional meals consisting of rice bread meat vegetables and the ubiquitous stew-like dish salta are a eaten with the hands from communal dishes on the floor. 13 Wedding Party Weddings are often a community event in Yemen. Large gatherings complete with lighted streets music dance and fireworks are a frequent sight year round. 14 Wadi Dhar About 15km north of Sanaa is a green and fertile valley known as Wadi Dhar (a wadi is a seasonal river typically found in a deep narrow valley and dotted with oases.) There are many small villages scattered along its length and some spectacular rock formations. 15 Dar Al-Hajar Rock Palace Imam Yahya king of Yemen (1911-48) built the five-storey palace in the 1930s as a summer residence. Building a palace in such an extraordinary place was not his idea there were already ruins of a prehistoric building on top of the hill. The site is now a museum housing historic photographs. 16 YLC Student Field Trip Thula Kawkabaun Shibam Our all-inclusive Arabic study package offers a day trip to Thula Kawkabaun and Shibam. Students experience the feel of small village life with a traditional lunch in Kawkabaun and then a hike down to Shibam. 17 Thula Like many of the villages surrounding Sanaa Thula is of pre-Islamic origin. Its architecture is one of the finest examples of stone work in Yemen. Like many of Yemens mountain villages the Thula is water feed by traditional cisterns. 18 Kawkabaun An important stronghold during the Turkish occupation of lowland regions of the Yemen Kawkaban served to protect the town of Shebam below. It is built at the summit of a 350-metre cliff. The city rises high into the mountains and indeed the name Kawkaban means that it is close to the heavens. 19 Kawkabaun Dating far back into antiquity Kawkaban is the upper town of Shibam and can be reached by a paved path which follows the flank of the cliff at 3000m Kawkaban dominates the region. Shibam lower down is the former capital of the Yaffouride Dynasty (861 - 956 AD). 20 Shibam Valley First time visitors to Yemen are often surprised at the lushness of its green valleys and mountains. 21 Shihara The Shihara Bridge was constructed in the 17th century yet is employed today as if it were a modern span. Shihara was an important launching site for the resistance against Ottoman occupation through both Turkish invasions heavily fortified and equipped with its own water reservoirs. 22 Student Field Trip Manakha During a day trip to the Haraz Mountains students visit the villages of al-Hajjerah al-Hoteib and have a Yemeni lunch followed by live traditional music and dancing in Manakha. 23 Student Field Trip Manakha Manakha is a quiet village located at about 2300 meters in the Haraz Mountains. The area is a great location for hiking with the tallest peak above the city at 3300 meters (almost 11000 feet). 24 Terraced Agriculture in Manakha The technology of agricultural terracing has been used in Yemen for thousands of years. The terraces have been in production perhaps since 2500 B.C. making them amongst the oldest in the world. -William Harms 1997 25 Al Hoteib Al Hotieb is a small village high on Jebal Massar. The site of the tomb of 6th century Ismaili scholar Hattem bin Ibrahim bin al-Hussein al-Hamdani. The location is a pilgrimage site for Ismailis from the Indian subcontinent. 26 Al Hajjerah The historical village of Al-Hajjerah rises on a mountainous top. Vehicles are forbidden in the walls of the city. Historically Al-Hajjerah was home to the large community of Yemeni Jews. 27 Mahweet
The YCMES offers optional hiking treks through the beautiful mountains of the Mahweet area one of the greenest in all of Yemen. These treks follow century old trails from village to village through some of the most dramatic scenery in Yemen.
28 Hodeidah Marina Al-Hodeidah is home to the most important fish market in the country. Sambuks dhows and other boats from all over the Red Sea assemble each morning with the most extraordinary variety of exotic seafood which in a few hours will reach the tables of the main cities of Yemen and the world. 29 Zabid
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 Zabid was added to the danger list from its poor conservation. Originally founded in the earliest years of Islam Zabid exhibits typical Tihama-style architecture of courtyard houses. It is famous for its great Islamic learning in 62 madrasas (22 existing today) which attracted students from all over the Muslim world.
30 Kamaran Island
Kamaran Island used to be home to a British military post but today is visited for its beautiful secluded beaches and remarkable mangrove forests.
31 Student Field Trip Hadramawt Our Special Summer Arabic Language Program for University Students includes a 5 day trip to The Hadramawt visiting Seyun Tarim Shibam and Marib. 32 Marib The remains of two Sabaean temples can be found outside the modern town of Marib. Marib was the Sabaean Marib where a large temple was built. The mighty Sabaean civilization endured for about 14 centuries and was not based trade but on agriculture. The impressive dam built at Marib in the 8th century provided irrigation for farmland and stood for over a millennium. 33 Marib The ruins of the ancient city of Marib are located just outside the present Marib city. It is famous as the location of the ancient fortified city of Marib and its associated dam principal centre of the pre-Islamic state of Saba (950115 BC). 34 Old Marib The ruins of the ancient city of Marib are located just outside the present Marib city. It is famous as the location of the ancient fortified city of Marib and its associated dam principal centre of the pre-Islamic state of Saba (950115 BC). 35 Beduin Living The population of Yemen is a largely settled However the Rub al-Khali and surrounding area is home to many Bedouin groups. This picture was taken by the President of the YCMES after having received some roadside assistance from a Bedouin family. 36 Sabaean Writing The remnants of Yemens rich and long history are evident everywhere. Sabaean writing can be found on the ruins of the Sabaean capital in Marib. The Minaean (1200650 B.C.) and Sabaean (750115 B.C.) kingdoms were very influential in the ancient world because of their instrumental role in the spice and incense trade . The Sabaean kingdoms most famous ruler was Queen Bilqis more commonly known as The Queen of Sheba. 37 Lady Farmers in Hadhramout Distinctively dressed female farmers are a common sight in the fields of the Hadramawt. Women play a very active role in Yemeni agriculture 38 Tarim It was capital of Hadramawt Kingdom and was named after king Tarim Hadramout ibn Sheba in the tenth century. Historical text record that Tarim once had 365 mosques and over 300 clerics. It remains an important center of Islamic learning drawing students from the Asian sub-continent and Latin America. Tarim also boasts the tallest minaret in Yemen pictured here. 39 Seyun Seyun is dominated by the Kathiri sultans palace now the Museum of the Hadhramawt. Seyun is one of the oldest Yemeni cities historical documents confirm its existence during the 2nd millennium BC. 40 Shibam - Hadhramout Dating to the third century B.C. Shibam is a cluster of 500 clay stone and wood structures some eight stories high. Shebam reportedly contained the tallest building in the pre-industrial. These spectacular towers have earned Shibam the moniker the Manhattan of the Desert. 41 Al Mukallah Al Mukalla is the main city of wadi Hadramawt and one of the busiest cities in the country. It is mainly because the importance and activity of its harbor more important than Aden or Qana at the moment. 42 Jiblah
Jiblah is the former capital of the wealthy lush highlands in southern Yemen. It prospered under Queen Arwa bint Ahmads 52 year rule and continues today 850 years later. Her great mosque is shown in the top picture.
Taiz was known as the educational center during Yemens revolution and prospered from its critical role in that time. It is the seat of the most populated governorate in Yemen and today is a bustling commercial city. There is an old town in Taiz which boasts mosques and a fortress dating back to the 11th Century. Women are also seen much more openly in the city.
Aden is undoubtedly the most well-known city in Yemen to foreigners due to its historical importance as a international port city its fame under the British occupation and the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000. The city has a much different feel than the rest of Yemen most likely due to its geographically uniqueness situated on a crater and its establishment under the Brits. Its pre-historic cisterns are a must-see and shown on top.
45 Beit Qateena
Though virtually unknown to almost all visitors to Yemen Beit Qateena has a special relationship to the YCMES which has been doing special programs for its students to the region to offer a picture of tribal village life. During these visits students often meet the Sheikh of the region visit natural springs and trek through its beautiful scenery.
(Pictured is the Sheikhs son with his house in the background)
46 Socotra Island
Socotra Island located 350 km off the southern coast of Arabia is one of the most unique places found in Yemen. It is also one of the most isolated places on earth geographically separated for 250 million years with over 700 endemic species of flora fauna and animals found only on this island. For these reasons it has earned the nickname The Other Galapagos though the island is much more populated than its sister with around 40000 local inhabitants. Great strides are being taken to preserve the island for eco-tourism only.
Pictures by Harf Zimmerman New York Times 47 (No Transcript)
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