Delights Of Yemen UF01

8 Days From £0 (Please Enquire)

Explore Yemen, Arabia's yet to be discovered gem and a country of contrasts with the world's oldest skyscrapers, picturesque mountaintop villages, pristine coral reefs and beautiful trees.

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Key Information

Travel Style: Small Group
Start Location: Sana’a, Yemen
End Location: Sana’a, Yemen
Accommodation: Hotels
Period: All Year Round
Difficulty: Suitable for Most Travelers

About The Operator

Accreditations: Section coming soon.
Years In Business: 24


A full day by day itinerary will be provided by the tour operator when you make an enquiry about this holiday.

- As described

- International flights

Prices per person, based on 2 people traveling - please submit an enquiry to receive a personalized itinerary and costs.

Day 01. SANA’A - Arrival to Sana’a. Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to the chosen hotel. Entire day visiting the beautiful Capital of Yemen, Sana’a, considered to be one the most ancient cities of the entire world. During the day, you will be visiting, with your guide, the National Museum (note: it’s closed on Fridays) and the Old City, protected by the Unesco, with its breathtaking souq, making the entrance from Bab El Yemen, the gate to the Old City. In the afternoon, tea on the rooftop of an old building of the Old City. Overnight.
Day 02. SANA'A – SEYUN – TARIM – SHIBAM – SEYUN (domestic flight) (BB). After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport and flight to Seyun for a full day in one of the pearls of Yemen: Tarim, Shibam and Seyun in Hadramawth. Upon arrival, you will be met by your driver and guide for an immediate visit of Seyun, the largest town of the Wadi Hadramout and the provincial capital and main government, commercial and communications centre. It is known for its fabulous palm groves and for its old market. The town, which has a history going back thousands of years, probably owes its origin to this market, once an important stopping place on the early trade route that ran east through Wadi Masila and on to Shihr on the coast. In 1494 there was an influx of people of the Hamdani tribes from north of Sana'a. Their leader was Amir Badr Ibn Tawariq Kathiri, the ancestor of the Kathiri Sultans who ruled from their capital here from 1516 until independence from the British in 1967. The massive Sultan's Palace, with its 4 corner towers, stands in the oldest part of Seiyun, nest to the busy market; it is the largest mud-brick building in the Wadi Hadramout and an outstanding example of mud architecture. It was built in 1873, rebuilt in 1926 by Mansur bin Ghalib al Kathiri and whitewashed by his son Ali in 1935. Today it houses a museum of archaeology with finds from Raybun, one of Yemen's most important ancient sites as well as exhibits on popular traditions, folklore and costumes and objects from the colonial days. The tour continues to Tarim, encircled by palm groves, which takes its name from a local king, Tarim Ibn Hadramout Ibn Saba Al-Assgar. It was a major centre for the Kathiri state until the 1960s; it was the capital of Hadhramout in ancient times and the religious capital of the Wadi Hadramout since the X century. Its history, like Shibam's, is related to the rise of the Himyar Kingdom and the destruction of Shabwa. Tarim's reputation as a centre of religious teaching extended well beyond the Arabian Peninsula, reaching East Africa and Southeast Asia. Locals will tell you that there was once a mosque for each day of the Islamic year. The architecture of Tarim is more varied than that of any other Hadramout town. The town's building boom began in the XIX century and reached its height between the late 1920s and early 1940s. The best of the day will be when you reach Shibam, the old walled city named after king Shibam Bin Harith Ibn. It was a major city on the overland spice and incense route. Although its origins are still not completely understood, it was trading at the time of the Sabaeans around the IV and V centuries BC. The present settlement seems to have been established around the third century AD, after the destruction of Shabwa It has been the commercial and political capital of Hadramout, many times. More recently, it was the commercial capital of Wadi Hadramout until 1940, when an airport was built east of Seiyun and the economic centre moved there. Shibam is a small walled city that is a complete unit in itself. It has seven mosques, including the Rashid Mosque (sometimes called the Masjid al-Jum'a, the Friday mosque), which date back to the early tenth century. Its unique architectural heritage of 500 mud-brick houses is an extraordinary example of traditional Yemeni building skills. Some of these houses are many centuries old and rise up to seven or eight-story, the tallest reaching 30m. The city's towering appearance prompted Freya Stark to describe it as the Manhattan of the desert. The city was added to UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1982. Those who can afford it limewash their houses to protect them against termites and against the rains and flooding which occur from time to time in sa'il, the bed of the main wadi. Sunset will be spent watching the old city turning into shades of pink. Overnight at hotel.
Day 03. SEYUN - SANA'A (by Flight) and departure to IBB, JIBLAH AND TAIZ - (BB). Breakfast in the hotel, transfer to the airport and return flight to Sana’a where you will be met by your private driver and guide. Departure to Taiz. On the way, visit of Ibb and Jiblah The city of Ibb is built on the mountain of Jabal Ba’adan, overlooking the lush green countryside of the rain-blessed governorate bearing the same name. The city likely was founded during the reign of the Himyarite Kingdom, when it was known as Thogha. Throughout most of its history, Ibb had sat on the caravan route from Aden to Sana’a as well as pilgrimage route to Yemen, ensuring that it was never lacking in customers while maintaining its position as a trade centre. The Old city of Ibb makes for a pleasant stroll. Most of the roads cannot be navigated by cars and the houses are built differently from those of other Yemeni cities by their use of stone blocks. Much of the woodwork you will see on the older doors was done by the population of Jewish artisans who lived in the city before 1948. There is a number of historically important buildings in the Old City, some of which date back before the advent of Islam such as al-Bayada reputed to have been built for a air-skinned Himyarite princess. There are several important mosques in the old city. The Old Mosque was built during the reign of the second Muslim caliph, “Omar ibn al-Khatab.” The more aesthetically appealing mosque and red-brick minaret of al-Jalaliyya dates to the 18th-century Ottoman occupation. Outside the Old City, the small tourist facility on top of Jabal Rabi (the mountain of My Lord) offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. The fortress of Husn al-Habb (fortress of Grain) sits on the mountain of Jabal Ba’dan. It is inaccessible by car, but a 30-minute to one-hour walk on the path leads up to the ruined remains. Surrounded by three walls and a sharp cliff face, Husn al-Habb was noted by the medieval Yemeni historians as being one of the strongest fortresses in the country. The town of Jiblah is a small, quiet village tucked away between two wadis dominated by its larger neighbour, Ibb, only 8km away. In the past, Jiblah was the seat of power of one of Yemen’s greatest and most fondly remembered rulers, Queen Sayyida Arwa bint Ahmed, who ruled most of Yemen from the town during one of the country’s most brilliant, historically important periods. In the 11th century the future Queen Arwa was born in the Haraz mountains as Sayyida bint Ahmed while Ali ibn Sulayhi, her uncle and future father-in-law, had conquered and ruled most of Yemen. Arwa was educated within the royal palace at Sana’a under the tutelage of “Ali al-Sulayhi’s wife, Queen Asma. Queen Arwa moved the state capital from Sana’a to Jiblah sometime after she assumed control in 1063. When she made the move, Jiblah was a small city that had been built 25 years prior – only slightly older than Arwa herself. The town was named after a Jewish potter who may have still been working there when Arwa transferred her seat of authority. Arwa’s choice in Jiblah well reflected the style of her rule: a perfect blend of wit and diplomacy. The Queen was concerned with public works, trade and religion. It is very interesting to see the fond attachment Yemenis have to Queen Arwa- for a woman who ruled by diplomacy, she is revered as one of the greatest Yemeni leaders by conflict-prone, male-oriented Yemenis. The historian Omarah wrote that Queen Arwa was: “perfect in beauty, of a clear-sounding voice, well read and skilful writer, her memory stored with history, with poetry, and with the chronology of past times”. The tomb of Queen Arwa is situated near the northern wall of the Queen Arwa Mosque. Sheikh Yakub Mosque (mosque of Jacob) is interesting as the villagers claim this to be the oldest in Jiblah, having existed as the town’s sole mosque before Arwa arrived and transformed the old palace into the grander mosque bearing her name. Below Sheikh Yakub Mosque, in the lower part of the town, there are several stone-arched bridges, one of which is said to date back to the time of Queen Arwa. Arrival to Taiz. Overnight.
Day 04. TAIZ - (BB) After breakfast, entire day spent visiting the beautiful city of Taiz. Capital of Yemen during one of the country’s most brilliant periods, Taiz enjoys a position today as a major economic center. Taiz is first mentioned in the late 12th century AD during the reign of the Ayyubids – the forces which had first been led by Saladin’s brother Turanshah. At that time, the quarterly revenue of the port city of Aden was brought to Taiz. During the day you will be enjoying the Old City of Taiz with its two entrances – Bab al- Kabeer (the Great Gate) and Baba Musa (the Gate of Moses). The walled-in section of the town contains a lovely souk that specializes in a delicious kind of Taiz cheese, dried fish and silver jewellery. Cairo Castle is the large fortification and currently being renovated using river stones and original building techniques. Al-Ashrafiyyah Mosque is one of the few mosques in Yemen that tourists are permitted to enter. You will be able to walk around the grounds and see the tombs of al-Ashrafa, his wife, his father, his sons, and his primary security guard as well as take one step into the mosque proper to admire the decorative work. The tomb markings signify the location of the actual graves in rooms below. There are many lovely reliefs inside. A secret door was found in 2005 leading to an underground room. Supposedly, many of the local governmental officials flocked here when the rumors got out in the hope of unearthing large treasures that might be stored within. But no treasures were found – only the tombs. Al –Mu’tabiyya Mosque was built by a-Ashrafa in honour of his wife 23 years after the construction of his mosque. Both mosques were built with similar design, although the al-Mu’tabiyya is filled with designs and inscriptions. There are no tombs. The mosque used to be reserved for women, but eventually the men decided they did not have enough space, and took it for themselves. Abd al-Hadi Mosque was built in 1618 in commemoration of a Sufi saint of the same name who had died a hundred years earlier. There is a large grave monument to al-Hadi inside the structure. Modhafer Mosque is the oldest mosque in Taiz, built by and named after the great-grandfather of al-Ashrafa. It has a minaret with two, large white domes. Jabal Saber tops out over the villages dotting the mountainside are best known for their women, skilled bargainers who wear bright baltos and who are famed for their beauty. Overnight.
Day 05. TAIZ – ZABID - BEYT EL FAQIH – HODEIDA - (BB) After breakfast, departure to Zabid, whose domestic and military architecture and its urban plan make it an outstanding archaeological and historical site. Besides being the capital of Yemen from the 13th to the 15th century, the city played an important role in the Arab and Muslim world for many centuries because of its Islamic university. It is said that algebra was brought to the World from Zabid. Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Italian movie director, fell in love with Zabid and filmed many scenes of “The Flowers of 1001 Nights” in Zabid. The day continues to Beyt el Faqhi, a small commercial town famous for its Firday market. Your day will end in Al – Hodeidah, Yemen's fourth city in population terms. It developed as the leading port of the Ottomans when the coffee trade at Mukha dwindled and still retains its old Turkish quarter. At night the markets light up, with men selling fruit under hurricane lamps, and in the early morning the fish market is a hive of activity. Wealthy merchant families have opulent houses constructed in the Old Turkish area of Al - Hodeidah. These buildings have lavishly decorated plasterwork interiors and superbly carved balconies. Upstairs, decorative stucco work and niches in walls pressed with colored glass and mirrors scintillate with painted peacock designs – a recurring theme throughout the Tihama and indication of the Indian influences seen in the region as a consequence of sea-tread. Overnight in Hodeida
Day 06. HODEIDA – MANAKHA – HOTEIB – AL HAJJARAH – SANA’A - (BB) After breakfast in the hotel, visit to the fish market of Hodeida and departure to the Haraz Mountains, up to Manakha, 90 km west of Sana’a, about 2200 m. above sea level. Manakha is remarkable for its enormous deep ravines and fog and mist-topped mountains. Its beautiful terraced hillsides are bountiful due to the amount of rain it receives, mostly during the monsoon season. The Harraz region is famous for the abundant cultivations of coffee and qat, all in an impressive landscape. It is commonly believed that the men of Harraz are some of the best dancers in Yemen. Small villages and hamlets lie scattered everywhere between the terraces that extend across the steepest slopes. Many visitors have suggested that the majestic spirit of the mountains can be felt more intensely in Haraz Mountains than anywhere else in Yemen. Manakha has played an important role in Yemeni history as well as in Islamic history and Manakha’s strategic location during the Ottoman occupation of Yemen allowed for the protection of supply lines between Sana’a and Hodeidah. Religiously, Manakha is an ancestral home of the Ismailis, a Shia’a sect of Islam, and the Ismailis in Manakha still have very strong ties to Ismaili sects abroad, especially in India and Pakistan. During the day you will also be visiting Hoteib, a small village and pilgrimage site perched on the easternside of Jebal Messar. Ismaili pilgrims come to Al Hoteib to visit the tomb of the 6th century (H) Ismaili scholar Hattem bin Ibrahim bin al Hussein al Hamadi. Thousands of pilgrims visit every year from Pakistan, India, America, and other places. The Bukhara Ismailis of Bombay financed the paved road to the village of Hoteib where they make a yearly pilgrimage on the 16th of Moharram. The day proceeds with the visit of Al Hajjarah, an important village which was a great suq on the old road between Hodeidah and Sana’a and has become a common destination for tourists in Yemen. Visiting this village gives tourists a great opportunity to see another example of what Yemen is famous for- building villages in impossible places. It is also a place where the visitor can see how Jews and Muslims lived together and there are still relics relating to this to be found while walking around. Return to Sana’a in the afternoon. Overnight
Day 07. SANA'A / WADI DHAR / THULA / HABABA / KOWAKABAN / SHIBAM / SANA'A – km 150 - (BB). Breakfast in the hotel and full day excursion to Wadi Dhar, Thula, Hababa, Kawkaban and Shibam. You will be visiting the famous “Rock Palace” in Wadi Dhar. The palace was the summer residence of the former Imam, Yahia, and it’s one of the historical images of Yemen: built on a rock which is 50 m. high, it is the emblem of Yemeni architecture and immense imagination and “building daring”. Your tour will proceeds towards Thula, famous for its mini-skyscrapers and distinctive architecture with alabaster khamaryas, the arched windows named after the moon, khamar. Visit of Hababa, a few km away, where the city is reflected in an immense water cistern, followed by Kawkaban (2800m), a fortress town dominating Shibam and the surrounding mountains. Return to Sana’a and time for last shopping in the souq. Dinner in the hotel and overnight.
Day 08. SANA'A – RETURN - Breakfast and time at leisure. Private transfer to the airport and flight.