Arabian Linnet

Tour Summary

In the Northern parts including cruise across the desert to Wadi Hadhramout with a flight back to Sana'a.

Your Itinerary

Day 1:

Sana'a Arrive at the Airport and transfer to hotel for an overnight in Sana'a.

(D) Dinner included

Day 2:

Sana'a Enjoy a full day sightseeing and exploring the fascinating old city of Sana'a. Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, is situated in the western part of the country in the mountains. Locals maintain that this is where skyscrapers were invented! The Souq (market) dating from the pre-Islamic period. In the heart of the old town of Sana'a one can easily believe that time has stood still for centuries. The dream of the old orient becomes a reality here. The city existed at the time when there were only tents to be found in the Arabian Peninsula one of the oldest towns in the World, second only to Marib. Legend has it that the son of the biblical Noah, Sem, founded the city. Renowned as a refuge of peace, it was a place where fighting was not permitted. Walk through the winding city streets, and find artifacts in the National Museum. Overnight at Hilltown 4* OR Hadda 4* Hotel or similar in Sana'a.

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Day 3:

Sana'a - Sadah (242 km) The town of Sadah, is the birthplace of Zaydism, the most powerful spiritual school of Islamic thought in Yemen. This Zaidi capital has a proud past and used to be the collection point for pilgrims heading north to Mecca and in pre-Islamic times the important trade route of "Incense Road" had been passing here. The main attraction of Sadah is the old town built of typical mud-layer architecture surrounded by a city wall of the 16th century. It is possible to walk around the town on top of it and this is the best way to appreciate the beauty of Sadah. Through the old gate Bab Al Yemen we take a step back into the living middle ages. There are still some Jewish silver smiths living here offering some precious old jewelry for sale. To the left hand side of Bab Al Yemen there is the old and large Al Hadi Mosque from the 12th century. It is named after the founder of the Zaidi faith, Al Hadi Yahya (died 911) who lie buried here. From here we reach the souk with its small lanes and old city with its narrow streets and its 500 year-old houses built of mud. Overnight a Hotel at Rahban 3* Sadah.

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Day 4:

Sadah - Amran - Sana'a - Kawkaban (282 km) On the way back we can make a short visit of the old city of Amran, which is still surrounded by a city wall and is constructed of clay. The appearance of this old town is architecturally harmonious and it is the first town to have mud houses. Then through Sana'a we proceed to Kawkaban. Kawkaban is the place in Yemen to visit for a taste of the Yemeni passion for building villages on the most inaccessible mountainsides. Here you can enjoy the country from an eagle's point of view. From Shibam the motor way up to Kawkaban is not interesting to do so the clients will walk up the footpath which is easy to walk. The approach to Kawkaban is spectacular, as it occupies a narrow peninsula of cliff top and is worth attempting even for the laziest visitor. This takes at least one hour with height difference of 350m. Overnight at Kawkaban Funduk (Traditional guest house).

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Day 5:

Kawkaban - Thulla - Tawilla - Mahweit (73 km) In the morning we start visiting Thulla. Thulla, a remarkable ancient town is built at the eastern foot of a mountain, near a large gently sloping basin of terraced fields, with a fortress on the mountain top to shelter the inhabitants during crises. It is an excellent example of the system of defense that has so efficiently protected Yemenies against foreign invaders. Thulla is a rare example of an almost perfectly preserved highland town of natural stone tower houses. The walled town with its paved streets is entirely built with stones from the mountain (without the use of cement), so that from a distance you would hardly suspect the presence of a town here. Walking in its alleys, lanes and the old suq is a pleasing experience. Then we proceed to the mountain city of Tawilla with its original souk towering up along five mountain peaks which from a distance look like a monolithic unit. Tawilla is situated at an altitude of 2600m. On top of two rocks the remains of fortifications of the first Turkish occupation (1537-1636) can be seen. The facades of the houses with decorated bands of bright stone are remarkable. In the lanes the visitors will find merchants, women scurrying, children, cats and chickens. Here under the arcades we still find a harmonious display of lanes and small shops, more than anywhere else in Yemen - and that means something because everywhere the country is still traditional. On the occasion of the large exhibition on Yemen 1978 in the Ethnological Museum of Munich, part of this souk has been built up according to the original one. We continue driving to Mahweit where our last destination for the day is. Al-Mahweit is distinguished by its individual location overlooking to the terraces of the farms and wadies in which the coffee plantation is enormous also some equatorial fruits. In the afternoon, a 2-3 hours of trekking will be arranged around Mahweit where terraces and chain of villages along mountain tops could be seen. The mountains around Mahweit are just as beautiful as those of Manakha region. Back to Al-Mahweit 3* hotel for Dinner & overnight.

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Day 6:

Mahweit - Manakha - Hajjarah (75 km) Mahweit to Hodeidah road through Wadi Sara (off-road is a bird watchers paradise) could be crossed by a hired local Land Cruisers from Mahweit. Our bus/buses have to drive earlier through Sana'a to Manakha or might wait for the group further at Khamis Bani Sa'ad (at the junction of Hodiedah-Sana'a road. where there will be a Thursday market day here). Upon reaching Manakha the buses can still drive up to Hutaib. From here to Kahil and then to Hajjarah the clients will walk (2-3 hours). The Ismaili villages with their decorated houses provide a wonderful area for trekking; Hutaib, the most important place of pilgrimage for members of the small sect, lies only about four km downhill. The roads, tracks and footpaths uphill to the west lead to the other picturesque villages which overlook Houtaib and Manakha itself. From Kahil a steep footpath leads back to Manakha. Jabal Shibam, the highest peak of the Haraz region at almost 3000 metres, stands to the south of Manakha, a couple of km south-west from Hutaib. The Haraz region is full of old fortified villages built on hilltops. We continue walking to one of the finest examples, the tightly built Al-Hajjarah. The four and five-storey stone houses of Hajjarah can already be spotted in the distance. The village dating to the 12th century AD, served as an important fortification during the Turkish occupations of Yemen. Dinner and overnight at Al-Hajjarah simple but clean Funduk (Traditional guest house)

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Day 7:

Hajjarah - Marib (296 km) Wake up early in the morning to overcome the distance and reach Marib in time. Going through a black basalt with light sand dunes formed by the wind we come to Marib. We soon discover along the yellow horizon, the beginning of the immensely large Rub al Khali, the "Empty Quarter" with 2000sqkm of sand. After or prior to taking our lunch at a local restaurant we take a look at Marib, once the world and religious capital of the Sabean Kingdom. Marib is the most famous archaeological site in Yemen. The usual schedule for tourists includes the old village of Marib, three archaeological sites, the old and new dam. The old village of Marib stands on a tiny hill and can be seen from the new Marib. Old Marib is an impressive place, with its small windowed mud skyscrapers, their stone basements often sporting stones from ancient monuments. You will see Sabaean inscriptions, ornaments and figurative motifs such as ibex heads on these stones. On the other side of the wadi, south-west of old Marib, you will find remnants of remarkable Sabaean temples, now half-buried in a sand dune. Further to the west stand the five pillars of the Temple of the Moon. Local people call this "Arsh Bilquis" or the Throne of Bilquis. Bilquis is the Yemeni name for the legendary queen of Saba, who visited King Solomon in the 10th century BC. An even more imposing site can be further to the "Sun Temple" or called "Mahram Bilquis" Archaeological studies indicated that the temple was actually built around 400 BC and was originally known as the Temple of Awwam. American archaeologists performed excavations here between the year 1950-1952, exposing most of the temple from the sands. Their work was, however, interrupted and since 1990 German archaeologists are excavating the temple Arsh Bilquis with its 5 pillars. Back to the road that leads to the dams, you come to the ancient Great Dam of Marib. Looking across from one sluice to the other gives you an idea of the immense scale of ancient construction. If you wander around you can see the canal system that distributed water to fields at different heights. Nearby are the so-called "Stones of King" with himyarite inscriptions from the 4th century AD describing dam repairs. The site also contains carefully cut stones that carry Sabaean inscriptions. In 1986 a new dam was opened, financed by Sheikh Zaid of Abu Dhabi who considers himself a descendant of the Sabeans. Dinner and overnight at the Bilquis Marib 4 star Hotel.

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Day 8:

Marib - Shibam - Wadi Hadramout (390 km) In the morning we drive directly east of Marib on the newly constructed road across the Ramlat As Sabateen desert to Wadi Hadramout. In the afternoon we visit the World Monuments Watch notable site of Shibam, formerly known as "Manhattan of the Desert" Shibam is a sight you will never forget - entering the town for the first time is guaranteed to make you forget the trouble you may have had getting here. Although you may have seen pictures of Shibam, the reality is likely to exceed your expectations. Founded in 3 AD, Shibam was constructed solely of mud, and no bricks can be found here. Shibam is a tight collection of some 500 skyscrapers, upto eight-storeys high, crammed into an area of perhaps only half a sq km. Challenging storms and rains and still remaining high, each adjoining one gigantic building of similar technology! Wonderful is the city of Shibam, legendary in the imagination of all who heard the stories of "One Thousand and One Nights". In the 1980s Shibam, like Sana'a, was the target of a US$40-million UNESCO programme to safeguard the culture heritage of the human race. It makes every Yemeni proud and boasts for the art of architecture reached by their forefathers. Overnight in the nearby town of Al-Houta town at Al-Houta Palace 4-star Hotel.

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Day 9:

: Shibam -Tarim - Seiyun (86 km) Tarim, famed for being a city of learning and mosques is a beautiful town marked by the high minarets of its many mosques. Its symbol is the minaret of Al-Mohdar (60m. in altitude - the tallest in the middle east). The town is overshadowed by vast rock cliffs on one side and surrounded by palm groves on the other. It is said that there were once as many mosques as there are days in the Islamic year: 354. The visitors may get shown some fine examples of calligraphic masterpieces contained in the Al-Kaf Library. Our next point will be to the capital of the Wadi Hadramout - Seiyun. Its center is dominated by the mighty Sultan's Palace from the 16th century in which now the folklore Museum is located is slightly raised above the level of the market place and the suq which stand before it. We visit this palace which is perhaps the most pompous of all South Yemeni palaces, a multistoried white plastered colossus with light-blue window decoration. Seiyun called "the town of a million palm trees", has many imposing buildings with an excellent examples of clay brick architecture of Wadi Hadramout. Some of the most beautiful mosques and minarets in all of Yemen can be seen here in Seiyun. Overnight at Samah 4* Hotel in Seiyun.

(B) (L) (D)

Day 10:

Seiyun - Sana'a (flight) Fly back to Sana'a. Other buses will arranged to meet the group again and spend the rest of the day; Souk, shopping etc. Transfer to Airport late at night for departure.

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Note: Tour and Tour Information are subject to change.
Tour Prices: Single Person $1265; Double Occupancy Per Person $1155

Airfare (other than domestic as described) is not included in the tour price.

Notes : Price includes: Transportation: transfers between airports and hotels, all ground travels in Yemen (in 4-seat Toyota Land-Cruisers). -Accommodation: on twin sharing basis. 4 star hotels in the main cities. Elsewhere the best available hotel will be used. in the country side and mountainous areas/villages overnights will be spent in a clean local inn. -Meals on full-board basis in the best available restaurants. Sealed mineral water will be served all throught the trip. - Services of a Bilingual local tour guide (Arabic and English, German, French or Italian speaking our guide). - Entrance fees to all attractions visited. -Domestic flight costs.

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