Map of Sanna- Yemen
Sana’a, is the largest city in Yemen and the centre of Sana’a Governorate. The city is not part of the Governorate, but forms the separate administrative district of “Amanat Al-Asemah”. Under the Yemeni constitution, Sana’a is the capital of the country, although the seat of the internationally recognised government moved to Aden in the aftermath of the 2014–15 Yemeni coup d’état. Aden was declared as the temporary capital by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in March 2015.
Sana’a is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. At an elevation of 2,300 metres (7,500 ft), it is also one of the highest capital cities in the world. Sana’a has a population of approximately 1,937,500 (2012), making it Yemen’s largest city.
The old city of Sana’a, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a distinctive visual character due to its unique architectural characteristics, most notably expressed in its multi-storey buildings decorated with geometric patterns. In the conflict that raged in 2015, bombs hit UNESCO sites. Located here is the Great Mosque of Sana’a, the largest in the city.
The Yemeni Rial is the official currency of Yemen.
Sana’a features the very rare mild version of a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSk). Sana’a sees on average 265 mm (10.43 in) of precipitation per year. However, due to its high elevation, temperatures are much more moderate than many other cities on the Arabian Peninsula; average temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year in Sana’a, with its coldest month being January and its warmest month in July.
The city seldom experiences extreme heat or cold. However, some areas around the city can see temperatures fall to around 15 °F (−9 °C) or 20 °F (−7 °C) during winter. Frost usually occurs in the early winter mornings, and there is a slight wind chill in the city at elevated areas that causes the cold mornings to be bitter, including low humidity. The sun warms the city to the high 60s °F (15-20 °C) and low 70s °F (21-26 °C) during the noontime but it drops drastically as night falls in.
The city experiences many microclimates from district to district because of its location in the Sana’a basin and uneven elevations throughout the city. Summers are warm and can cool rapidly at night, especially after rainfall. Sana’a receives half of its annual rainfall during the months of July and August. Rainfall amounts vary from year to year; some years could see 500–600 mm (20–24 inches) of rainfall, while others can barely get 150 mm (5.9 inches). High temperatures have increased slightly during the summer over the past few years, however, low temperatures and winter temperatures have dramatically fallen over the same period.
Historically, Sana’a had a mining industry. The hills around Sana’a were mined for onyx, chalcedony, and cornelian. The city was also known for its metalwork, which the British described as “famous” in the early 20th century, but declining in popularity. As of 1920, Sana’a was described by the British as being “well supplied with fruit and grapes, and has good water.”
As the capital city of Yemen, 40% of jobs in Sana’a are in the public sector. Other primary sources of formal employment in the city are trade and industry. Like many other cities in the developing world, Sana’a has a large informal sector which is estimated to constitute 32% of nongovernmental employment. However, while there is a greater variety of jobs in Sana’a as compared to other cities in Yemen, there is also greater poverty and unemployment. It is estimated that 25% of the labor force in Sana’a is unemployed.
Yemenia, the national airline of Yemen, has its head office in Sana’a. Sana’a International Airport is Yemen’s main domestic and international airport. There is currently no rail network but there are plans to install one in the future. A primary means of transport in the city is via dababs, minibuses which carry about 10 people. Taxis are also a very common form of public transport and there are coaches to major cities such as Aden and Taiz.