Thula is considered one of five historical cities in Yemen. It is known as the site of the early Altaleh settlement, established in the Himyarite period, about whom inscriptions can still be found on Yemeni cliffs today. The historic city of Thula was located at the base of a pink granite cliff and surrounded by a well-preserved, historic wall, standing approximately five to seven meters high, and running a length of 2000 meters, the structure of which, even today, has remained notably uncompromised. Thula is also known for its artifacts and archaeological sites, from the Sabaean period, pre-dating the Himyarite structures. The historic city is also the location of the Husn al-Churab fortress, crowned with the ruins of early houses, cisterns and towers. These ruins have been the subject of significant restoration and development projects, including the Thula Fort Restoration undertaken in 2011.
Preserved within the historic city are a number of mosques, mausoleums, an imamate palace, steam rooms, and souks. In terms of domestic architecture, the historic city contains nearly six hundred houses, generally storied buildings of three to five floors, constructed tightly alongside neighboring houses. The construction patterns have created narrow alleyways separating one house from another. Many of the homes feature sandstone facades with a rich variety of carved, sculptural friezes. Preserved within the historic city there are also a number of mosques, mausoleums, steam rooms, and souks, the latter containing over one hundred stalls, complete with caravanserais.