SANAA', the principal district in Yemen or Arabia Felix, corresponding to the ancient Saba, or Sheba, the hind of the Sabcans (q.v.). Its extent is very undefined, but it may be taken to include the country round the capital bearing the same name, to a distance of half a day's journey on the w., n. and c., and on the s. it is bounded by the Tehama and the districts of Lahej and Yada.
While the dynasty of the Imams existed, their sway extended over a much greater space, sometimes, indeed, over the whole of Yemen. Gradually it was encroached upon by the Sheikhs, who had been subject or tributary to them, and by the Turks. A had system of government prepared the way for intestine strife; on the death of each sove reign, the succession was disputed, until at length the very shadow of regular govern ment has passed away. In July, 1872, Sauita was again occupied by the Turks, who afterward overran the greater part of Yemen.
The city of Sanaa, once capital of the Imams of Yemen, is situated in a deep and beautiful valley, about 20 or 30 m. in length, and 6 or 7 in breadth, and 4.000 ft. above the level of the sea. The population of the city has been estimated at 40,000, and of the valley at about 70,000. This valley is bounded on the e. by a high range of mountains
called Jebel Nikkum, and is studded throughont its length with large villages.
The city and its suburbs arc both surrounded by high walls, and, including the gar dens, the circumference is about five and half miles. The houses are of brick, well and strongly built, and most of them furnished with fountains, while the palaces of the Imams alums), approached magnifice'tnce. The Jews, of ‘vhom even now there are about 20,000, have a quarter to themselves, distant about half an hour's walk from the Mohammedan town; it contains many buildings, once the abode of affluence and ease, but now bearing mon istakable signs of the devasta lion committed by the savage and fanatical Mohammedans of the city. The city walls are of unburned brick, and mounted with cannon, but they are in a very bad condition. There are four gates, and at both c. and W. end a castle containing a palace built in the Saracenic style with extensive gardens round them, and constructed with a view to defense, but now utterly neglected.