United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

 

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Situated in a mountain valley at an altitude of 2,200 metres, Sana’a, the celebrated Pearl of Arabia Felix, has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. In the seventh and eighth centuries the city became a major centre for the propagation of Islam and a crossroads of two trade routes. This religious and political heritage can be seen in the 103 mosques, 14 hammams and over 6,000 houses, all built before the 11th century. Sana’a’s sun-dried ramparts enclose splendid many-storied buildings of rammed earth with dazzling white decorative motifs, vast palaces and numerous mosques.

In 1984, UNESCO launched an international campaign to safeguard the Old City, threatened by the inroads of modern civilisation. Its inscription on the World Heritage List followed two years later, and the commemorative medal was struck in 1987. The obverse features the Bab-el-Yemen, one of the gates of the Old City, with the Arabic inscription of the International Campaign for the Safeguarding of the Old City of Sana’a and, in the foreground, the country’s flag at the time. The reverse has the UNESCO logo and the French title of the campaign: Campagne internationale pour la sauvegarde de la vieille ville de Sana’a.

Available in gold, silver and bronze

Photo © UNESCO/N. Burke

© UNESCO 1995-2008 - ID: 26442