Located at the base of Mt. Sabir, this holy city (pop. 178,000) has a must-see: the magnificent Palace of Imam Ahmed, now a national museum. It is crammed with memorabilia, including the Imam's room as it was on the night he died in 1962. The Salah Palace, another palace-turned-museum, has a collection of old silverware and coins, manuscripts of the Koran, original photographs of the Imam and even a tiny zoo (the only one in Yemen). Other attractions include the Al Ashrafia, Al Mudhaffar and Al Mu'tabiya mosques, minarets, the Green Valley Club (hotel and restaurant), the Old City, and its Al Qahera fortress. (This city is less conservative than most areas of Yemen—you'll notice that many women in this town are unveiled and dress in bright colors.) There's also an excellent souk that specializes in items made of silver.
About 5 miles/8 km north of town is the village of Al Kaideh, home to the very impressive and sacred Mosque of Al Janet. If you're coming from Sana'a, we suggest sitting on the right side of the bus, as the scenery is more impressive. 130 mi/ 210 km by road south of Sana'a.
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