Online Encyclopedia

SANA (Send'a)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 126 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
SANA (Send'a), a town in S. Arabia, the capital of the Turkish vilayet of Yemen. It is situated in 15° 22' N. and 440 10' E. in a broad valley running nearly N. and S., 7250 ft. above sea-level, on the E. slope of the great meridional range, over which the road runs to Hodeda, on the Red Sea coast 130 M. distant, crossing the Karn al Wa`l pass, over goon ft., about 25 M. W. of the city. The mean temperature of the year is 6o° F., with a summer maximum of 77°, and a regular rainfall which falls chiefly during the S.W. monsoon from June to September. The usual cereals, fruits and vegetables of the temperate zone, wheat, barley, apples, apricots, vines, potatoes, cabbages, beans, &c., are abundant and excellent. The town consists of three parts—(1) the Medina, the old city, now the Arab quarter, on the E. containing the principal mosques, baths, &c., with the citadel, el Kasr, at its S.E. corner at the foot of Jebel Nukum on the crest of which 2000 ft. above the valley are the ruins of the old fort of el Birash, traditionally attributed to Shem the son of Noah, and the Mutawakkil, ' This is on the usual assumption that there was only one ark in the history of Judah and Israel.formerly containing the palace and gardens of the imams, covering its W. face; (2) the Bir Azab W. of the city, consisting of detached houses and gardens, chiefly occupied by the higher Turkish officials, and (3) on the extreme W. the Ka'el Yahud or Jewish quarter. The city with the Kasr and Mutawakkil is surrounded by ramparts built of clay and sun-dried brick, 25 to 30 ft. high and of great thickness. The Bir Azab and Ka'el Yahud are enclosed in a similar enceinte but of more recent construction, connected with that of the city by the Mutawakkil; the whole forms a rough figure of eight, some 21 M. long from E. to W., and 4 m. in breadth. The walls are pierced by several gates; the principal are the Bab esh Shu`b and the Bab el Yemen in the N. and S. faces of the city respectively, and the Bab es Sabah in its W. face leading into the Mutawakkil, and thence by a broad street through the Bir Azab and Ka'el Yahud to the Bab el Ka', the main entrance to the town from the Hodeda road. The city itself has narrow, paved streets, with massive, flat-roofed houses of several storeys, and many extensive groups of buildings, mosques, serais and baths. The Jami `Masjid, or principal mosque, stands on the site of the Christian church built by Abraha ruler of Yemen during the period of Ethiopian domination, about A.D. 530. It consists of a great rectangular courtyard paved with granite, surrounded by a triple arcade, the domed roofs of which are supported by numerous columns of stone or brick; in the centre there is a model of the Ka'ba at Mecca covered with stone flags of various colours arranged chequer-wise. Among the other mosques, of which there are forty-eight in all, that of Salah ed din with its beautiful minaret is one of the finest. Of the Kasr Ghumdan and other ancient buildings, the splendours of which were sung by the poets of the early days of Islam, nothing but mutilated ruins remain; the old palace of the imams, the Mutawakkil, was destroyed during the years of anarchy preceding the Turkish occupation, and the site is now occupied by a military hospital standing in well-kept gardens. The houses consist generally of a ground floor built of dressed stone, surmounted by two or three storeys of burnt brick; as a rule the lower storey has no openings but an arched doorway; the facade of the upper storeys is pierced by long narrow window recesses, divided into three parts, the lowest of which forms a square window closed by carved wooden shutters, while the upper ones contain round or pointed window. fitted with coloured glass, or thin slabs of alabaster which admit a subdued light. The valley in which Sana lies is generally sterile, but in places where water is brought from the hill streams on the W. fields of barley, lucerne and market gardens are to be seen, particularly at Randa, the garden suburb, 6 m. N. of the town, and in the deep gorges of the Wadi Dhahr and W. Hadda, the terraced orchards of which are celebrated for their fine fruit-trees. The water supply of the town is derived from numerous wells, and from the Ghail Aswad, a small canal which supplies the military cantonment outside and S. of the walls, and runs through the gardens in the Mutawakkil. The population was estimated by R. Manzoni in 1887 at 20,000 Arabs, 3000 Turks and 1700 Jews, or less than 25,000 altogether; H. Burchardt in 1891 put it at 50,000; the city has, however, suffered severely from the state of unrest which has been chronic in Yemen since 1893, and more particu- larly in 1905, when it was taken by the insurgents, and held by them for three months, and the actual numbers at present do not probably exceed Manzoni's estimate. Arabic writers give many discordant and fabulous traditions about the oldest history of Sana and its connexion with the ancient kingdom of Ilimyar. But most agree that its oldest name was Azal, which seems to be the same word with Uzal in Gen. x. 27. A Himyarite nation of Auzalites occurs in a Syriac writer of the 6th century. The better-informed Arab writers knew also that the later name is due to the Abyssinian conquerors of Yemen, and that it meant in their language " fortified " (Bakri, p. 606; Noldeke, Gesch. d. Pers. u. Arab. p. 187). Sana became the capital of the Abyssinian Abraha (c. 530 A. D.) who built here the famous church (Kalis), which was destroyed two centuries later by order of the caliph Mansur (Azraki, p. 91). AuruoRITIES.—Niebuhr, Travels in Arabia (Amsterdam, 1774); R. Manzoni, Il Yemen (Rome, 1884) ; D. Charnay and A. Defiers, Excursions au Yemen. Tour du monde (Paris, No. 24, 1898). (R. A. W.) SANA'Y, the common name of ABULMAJD MAJDUD B. ADAM, the earliest among the great Sufic poets of Persia, was a native of Ghazni (in Afghanistan). He flourished in the reigns of the Ghaznevid sultans Ibrahim (1059-1099, 451-492 A.H.), his son Masud (1099-1114), and his grandson Bahram (1118-1152). Persian authorities are greatly at variance as to the dates of the poet's birth and death. At any rate, he must have been born in the beginning of the second half of the rtth century and have died between 1131 and 1150 (525 and 545 A.H.). He composed chiefly gasidas in honour of his sovereign Ibrahim and the great men of the realm, but the ridicule of a half-mad jester is said to have caused him to abandon the career of a court panegyrist and to devote his poetical abilities to higher subjects. For forty years he led a life of retirement and poverty, and, although Bahram offered him a high position at court and his own sister in marriage, he remained faithful to his austere and solitary life. But, partly to show his gratitude to the king, partly to leave a lasting monument of his genius behind him, he began to write his great double-rhymed poem on ethics and religious life, which served as model to the masterpieces of Farid-uddin 'Attar and Jelal ud-din Rums, the fIadigat ul-hagigat, or " Garden of Truth " (also called Alkitab alfakhri), in ten cantos. This poem deals with such topics as : the unity of the Godhead, the divine word, the excellence of the prophet, reason, knowledge and faith, love, the soul, worldly occupation and inattention to higher duties, stars and spheres and their symbolic lore, friends and foes, separation from the world. One of Sana'I's earliest disciples, Mahommed b. `All Raggam, generally known as `All al-Raffa, who wrote a preface to this work, assigns to its composition the date 1131 (525 A.H.), and states besides that the poet died immediately after the completion of his task. Now, Sana'i cannot possibly have died in ir3r, as another of his mathnawis, the Tariq-i-tahgiq, or " Path to the Verification of Truth," was composed, according to a chronogram in its last verses, in 1134 (528 A.H.), nor even in 1140, if he really wrote, as the Atashkada says, an elegy on the death of AmIr Mu'izzl; for this court-poet of Sultan Sinjar lived till 1147 or 1148 (542 A.11.). Ii seems, therefore, that Tagi Kashi is right in fixing Sana'i's death in 1150 (545 A.H.), the more so as `Ali al-Raffa himself distinctly says in his preface that the poet breathed his last on the 11th of Sha'ban, " which was a Sunday," and it is only in 1150 that this day happened to be the first of the week. Sana'i left, besides the ,(Iadigah and the Tariq-i-tahgiq, several other Sufic mathnawis of similar purport: for instance, the Sair ul'ibad il¢'lma'dd, or " Man's Journey towards the Other World " (also called Kunuz-urrumuz, " The Treasures of Mysteries"); the 'Ishqnama, or "Book of Love "; the `Aglnama or " Book of Intellect "; the K¢rndma, or " Record of Stirring Deeds," &c.; and an extensive diwan or collection of lyrical poetry. His tomb, called the " Mecca " of Ghazni, is still visited by numerous pilgrims. See Abdullatif al-'Abbasi's commentary (completed 1632 and preserved in a somewhat abridged form in several copies of the India Office Library) ; on the poet's life and works, Ouseley, Biogr. Notices, 184-187; Rieu's and Flugel's Catalogues, &c. ; E. G. Browne, Literary History of Persia (1906), ii. 317-322; H. Ethe in W. Geiger's Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, ii. 282-284.
End of Article: SANA (Send'a)
SANATORIUM (a modern Latinism, formed from sanare, ...

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.