The Grand Mosque in Sana'a one of the most important mosques, not just in Yemen but in the whole Islamic world. This historic building is believed to have been first constructed during the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the 6th year A.H. The mosque was built upon the site of the Ghumdan Palace, between the two areas of Sana'a, Al-Quati and Al-Sailah. The city's souq was moved next to the mosque, affording it with greater safety because of its proximity to a religious building. Along with the mosque, the palace site also houses a prison and barracks for the armed forces, built during the Ottoman Empire.
In later years, city planning, expansion and orientation were greatly influenced by the construction of the Great Mosque and two other mosques on the city's north side. Though there are more than one hundred mosques in the Old City, the Grand Mosque is the largest and most notable of them.
The Grand Mosque in Sana'a one of the most important mosques, not just in Yemen but in the whole Islamic world. This historic building is believed to have been first constructed during the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in the 6th year A.H.
It is considered to be among the world's earliest mosques (the third, to precise), preceded only by the Qa'ba Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque in Madina.
The mosque is known for its wooden ceilings which are covered with a profusion of decorations that reflect the attention Muslim rulers paid to construction and renovation activities.
The ceiling of the mosque was not always the same; it used to be encircled in a wooden wraparound on which inscriptions from the Quran and the Prophet's traditions were written in Kufi script.
As for the wooden panels, they ar decorated with three styles; the first style seems to reflect the Umayyad era, represented in convolvulus branches of plants from which protrude the acanthus or grape leaves and bunches or pinecones, in addition to pearls.
The second style reflects the Abbasid era dating back to Al Ya'afar reign, featuring the style of Samara and arabesque.
The third style features decorative elements that appeared during the 12th century A.D. such as the star plate, the egg and the arrow decorations.
The mosque has a rectangular shape of 78×65 meters. The exterior walls of the mosque were built from basalt which is locally known as "al habash".
It can be accessed through 12 gates, and has an open courtyard flanked by porticos from all directions. The mosque has two minarets, one of which is set over the mosque's nave and the other inside the western side. Two libraries have also been built as annexes to the mosque, on its right and its left. Dormitories were later added to shelter the poor and students.