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SANA’A as the Capital of Arabic Culture 2004.

SANA’A as the Capital of Arabic Culture 2004.

[03/September/2003]


Preparations are underway for making Sana’a as the Capital of Arabic Culture next year 2004. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has set out a number of measures and programs to cope with this significant event. Thereupon, the ministry has launched a project of renovating the Original Colors of the decorations of the houses in the Old City of Sana’a .

The project which has been targeting 250 houses set-in the western part of the old city is aiming at reinforcement the original colors of the houses in order to demonstrate the landmarks of the city and to display the uniqueness of the Yemeni architectural style in a bid to gear up the tourist promotion for the Yemeni cities.

The project includes restoration and renovation the outward facades of the houses, removing the deformations, taking away the outdated gypsum , cement and posters , nevertheless brush up the ornamentation of the houses. The project is due to help in making the old city more attractive and interesting to get it in a fit state to be the Capital of the Arabic Culture and as a symbol of the Universal Decade of the Cultural Development.

Sana’a has got several attractive features on top of which its unique architectural style. The distinguished architecture of the building in the old city of Sana’a eventually is one of the most important spectrum of the Yemeni architecture which has multifarious forms according to the diversity of the geographical features of the country.

Sana’a is very well known as one of the oldest inhibited city around the world. Its architectural mode of buildings reflects the ancient relation of Yemeni people with the skyscrapers since the dawn of the humankind’s civilization. The old houses of the city and its narrow streets look like as if they’re scenes of a film talking about the simple lifestyle of the middle ages.

Sana’a used to have several names as the ancient historical books had pointed out. Fore instance it was known as the city of Shem the son of Noh , while it was mentioned in the Old Testimony as “Azal” and “Sana’a” which is the most famous name is said to had been appeared in the first century A.D and it means the fortified city.

It is also said that the King “ Thou Newas” , the last one of the Himiarades Kings, who had made it the capital of Yemen in the beginning of the 6th century A.D . When Yemen had come under the Ethiopian occupation since 525 A.D Sana’a remained as the capital of the country.

Sana’a characterized by its beautiful houses and its huge urban cultural heritage of historical monuments and antiquities. There are a lot of historical buildings and traditional Souqs, in addition to that, there are more than 6 thousands of old houses some of them aged more than 200 years.

The nomination of Sana’a to be one of the Arabic Cultural Capitals has come in line with the notion of the “Cultural Capitals” which stemmed from the UN conference that held in Mexico in 1982 on the cultural policies. That conference had approved the Universal Decade of the Cultural Development ( 1988-1997 ) and it had stressed on the importance of coherence between the culture and development it also recommended conducting dialogues and discussions between the various cultures.

The Universal Decade of Cultural Development’s program that adopting the (regional cultural capitals) was kicked-off in Europe in 1985, then Arab States have adopted it. The Cultural Capitals program was approved at a request of the general director of the UNSCO in 1994 during the meeting of the fourth round of the international governmental committee of the Universal Decade of Cultural Development that took place in Paris.

The program of Arabic Cultural Capitals launched in 1996 . It began in Cairo 1996 then Tunisia 1997 , Al-Sharika 1998, Beirut 1999, Al-Riyadh 2000, Al-Kuwait 2001, Amman 2002 and Al-Rabat 2003, Sana’a 2004 , after that Al-Khartoum 2005, Muscat 2006, Algiers 2008 and Damascus 2008.


This program aims to bring about a unanimous that culture is very necessary and important for the individual and the community alike. The program thus, seeks to energize the cultural dialogue and to show up what each one of the Arab
Countries possesses of cultural heritage.

Sana’a actually has been undertaking several arrangements to be marked as the Capital of Arabic Culture on January 5th , 2005. The celebrations on this occasion are due to last until the Ist of January 2005.



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