Monday, 26 November 2007

Destination Report: Yemen

Sana'a -
The Allure of a Gingerbread City

Yemen’s capital city Sana’a leaves the first-time visitor simply breathless – for its incomprehensible beauty and incomparable oneness. Instead of helplessly trying to put my personal experience into words (which would invariably be bound to fail), I would like to quote from Eric Hansen’s highly recommended book “Motoring with Mohammed” as an introduction to some pictures:

“Shadows became noticeable, and I caught my breath as the jumble of towering earth-colored buildings became visible. My first impression was that during the night I had fallen back in time and awakened in the midst of a fairy-tale world from my childhood. I looked out at a gingerbread fantasy in which every surface was adorned with mad geometric designs, covered in squiggles of white cake icing.”

“The splendor of Sana’a could not be taken in at a glance. Each visual morsel deserved careful attention. Among the first architectural details to catch my eye were the roof finals. […] Watching this first sunrise over the city, I understood perfectly well the symbolism of oneness expressed by the finals. I had been unprepared for this sensation of attachment. No one had warned me about the allure of Sana’a, and in my surprise, I was caught off balance – seduced without a struggle. The magical, otherworldly beauty of the city took hold of me, and I didn’t resist.”

I was looking at something eternal, ageless, and precious – a place where I could leave myself far behind.

The Haze of Dawn over Sana'a

View over Gingerbread City on a Perfect Morning

Mixing Palm-Tree Gardens, a Mosque and Medieval Skyscrapers

An Impenetrable Maze of Brick Houses

The City Walls Are Partly Reconstructed

Sana'a Melts into the Surrounding Mountains

Night over Sana'a Stunning and Incomprehensible

And just to round it off I need to add that pictures can only convey a limited impression of what it feels like to be in Sana’a and become part of it…

Andreas Hauser