In the words of the poet Abdulaziz al-Maqaleh, “Sana’a is the capital of the soul and a tavern of light.”
As sunset neared on a day when the city was preparing to receive the month of Ramadan, with an air of spirituality I took my camera on a walk through Sana’a’s neighborhoods and markets. Over the years, ancient scents and intimate walls have experienced generations of the city’s passersby who admired its beauty, alongside those who worked hard to earn a living within its ancient walls. Today as you push your way through the alleyways, you will inevitably find yourself stopping at every one of the many stalls offering a variety of goods. There is no doubt that you will contemplate visiting the century old mosque here, or the samsara there, which carries memories of caravans, goods, sheikhs and merchants who once came to the market. History almost walks with you as your eyes embrace the minarets, or as you bounce towards its many orchards or walls that grew thick with the history of conquests of a city that belongs to one of the oldest civilizations.
There is a sense of content, fulfillment and joy among the vendors you meet in the old markets. Their clever jokes, sales talk about their products, the history of their professions, and the traditions of the city pull you to spend a little more time there without feeling bored. You leave, as others before you, with a store of pictures and memories that accompany you wherever you are.
Photography by: Ali Abdullah Ahmed al-Sunaidar was born in Sana’a. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Mass Communication in Sana’a University. In 2014, al-Sunaidar began his career in photography. Since then he has received many awards, including the Arab Travelers Competition, first place, and In Search of Common Lands Competition, fifth place. In 2018, one of his photographs was selected among the 30 most influential images in the world.
Photo Essay by Ali al-Sunaidar:
A translated version of this piece is Available in: العربية (Arabic)