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(sŏnä`), city (1994 pop. 954,448), capital and largest city of Yemen. The city lies inland on a high plain (alt. 7,250 ft/2,210 m) and is connected to the Red Sea port of Hodeida by road. Sana is an Islamic cultural center, and there is a Muslim university, other institutions of learning, and many mosques. It is a commercial and marketing center and is noted for the grapes grown nearby. Sana has been settled from pre-Islamic times; much of its ancient city wall remains. It was under Ethiopian control in the 6th cent. In the 17th cent. and again from 1872 to 1918 it was occupied by Turkey. After 1918, when Yemen's independence was reestablished, Sana became its capital. The capital was moved to TaizTaiz
or Taizz
, city (1994 pop. 317,753), S Yemen, in the interior highlands. It is an agricultural marketing center, particularly for coffee, and the focus of trade routes. Taiz was the administrative capital of Northern Yemen 1948 to 1962.
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 in 1948, but returned to Sana in 1962 at the founding of the Yemen Arab Republic. Upon unification with Southern Yemen in 1990, it became capital of the new, unified Republic of Yemen. Parts of the historic old city have been severely damaged or destroyed as a result of the civil war that began in 2015.


See L. J. Rose, Sana'a: City of Contrast (1981).



(Sanaa, San’a’), the capital of the Yemen Arab Republic; the country’s chief commercial, industrial, and transportation center. Situated at an elevation of 2,400 m, Sana has a tropical climate; the average January temperature is 13.7°C, and the average July temperature, 21°C. Annual precipitation is about 600 mm. Population, 134,600 (1975).

It is not known when Sana was founded. It emerged as the political center of Yemen in the sixth century. During the Middle Ages, trade routes between South Arabia and the Mediterranean passed through Sana. From the mid-seventh to the mid-ninth century, the city was the residence of the Arabian caliphs, and from the mid-ninth to the beginning of the 11 th century, it served as the capital of the independent Yafurid state. From the 11th to the 15th century, it was part of various South Arabian feudal states. From 1546 to 1628, Sana was under Turkish control, but from the mid-17th to the mid-19th century, it was the residence of the Zaidi imams of Yemen. In 1871, Sana was recaptured by the Turks. In 1911 it came under the control of Imam Yahyah, who made the city the capital of the kingdom of Yemen in 1918. On Sept. 26, 1962, an antimonarchist revolution broke out in the city, and the Yemen Arab Republic was proclaimed.

Sana is linked by road with the port of Hodeida and other major cities. Yemen’s chief airport is located in Sana. Industry includes the manufacture of weapons, textiles, furniture, and shoes. Sana is also an important center for the handcrafted production of silver and gold objects, woven goods, copper vessels, and other goods.

Located in the old, eastern, section of Sana are the al-Jami al-Kabir Mosque (built in the 670’s, with additions in the eighth, tenth, and 12th centuries), the al-Bakiliya Mosque (17th century), medieval baths, a caravansary, a citadel, and traditional four- and five-story tower dwellings. The western section, known as the garden city, built between the 17th and the 20th century, has many private homes with walled gardens. The architecture of the modern buildings retains some traditional elements.

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