Known for its remarkable architectural heritage, high mountains and fascinating green valleys, Yemen is indeed a place that can give visitors the satisfying and amazing experience. Getting around the country is somewhat difficult. However, Yemen is a romantic and unique place to travel, giving visitors a rewarding travel experience. Aside from the impressive architecture, another thing that made Yemen widely known is their famous coffee. Yemen is among the first countries to introduce and export coffee to the different places in Europe and neighboring countries.Yemen is indeed an ideal place to go with a combination of rich culture, fascinating natural views and friendly people.
Important and Interesting Facts about Yemen
- is an Arab country in Southwest Asia, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.
- The coastline stretches for about 2,000 km (1,200 mi). It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea to the south, and Oman to the east.
- Yemen’s territory includes more than 200 islands, the largest of these is Socotra.
- At 527,970 km2 (203,850 sq mi), Yemen is the world’s 50th-largest country. It is comparable in size to Thailand and larger than the U.S. state of California.
- The Tihamah (“hot lands” or “hot earth”) form a very arid and flat coastal plain along Yemen’s entire Red Sea coastline. Despite the aridity, the presence of many lagoons makes this region very marshy and a suitable breeding ground for malaria mosquitoes. There are extensive crescent-shaped sand dunes
- Shibam is dubbed the Manhattan of the desert. This is a wonderful landscape and also receives a huge number of tourists around the year. While in Yemen, one can either enjoy the fantastic ancient structural design or have a great time appreciative the beautiful mountains and desert landscape. Yemen is a totally beautiful country.
- Marib is another must see for people who are looking forward to explore the rich cultural heritage of Yemen. The great Marib dam is a very impressive structure and is a proof of how developed early Yemenite civilizations.
- Zabid’s domestic and military architecture and its urban plan make it an outstanding archaeological and historical site. Besides being the capital of Yemen from the 13th to the 15th century, the city played an important role in the Arab and Muslim world for many centuries because of its Islamic university.
- Alhajarah fort – Haraz is a village in Yemen. It is located in the Manakhah District of the Sana’a Governorate, in the Haraz Mountains. Al Hajara is built upon a precipice and is famous for the houses which are built onto the cliff faces. Al Hajara contains the former residence of Imam Yahya Muhammad, a signatory to the Italo-Yemeni Treaty of 1926.
- Saber mountain is one of the most famous mountains in Yemen, (almost 3000m above sea level), which affords panoramic views over the city. The city has a Muslim madrasa that has university status.
- Gulf of Aden is a gulf located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which is about 20 miles wide. It shares its name with the port city of Aden in Yemen, which forms the northern shore of the gulf. Historically the Gulf of Aden was known as “The Gulf of Berbera”, named after the ancient Somali port city of Berbera on the south side of the gulf.
- Bar’an Temple – Marib City lies 1400 m to the northwestern direction of Mahram Balquis. It is a Sabaean Temple devoted to the Almaqah, the Moon God. This temple comes next to Awam Temple in importance, and is locally known as “al-Amaid” or the throne of Bilpuis. A German Archaeological mission explored this temple, where upon they found it to be square in shape with an open yard involving the sacred well in the middle, together with a pool supplied with water by a funnel from the mouth of the statue of the Holy Taurus.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Yemen
- More children are born in Yemen than in any other middle eastern country yearly
- Yemen does not have many natural resources and is the poorest nation in the middle east
- Alcohol is banned in Yemen due to strict Islamic religious policies
- You do not have to tip in Yemen the practice is unknown
- President for life? Yemen’s embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who rose through the military, has held power in Sana’a since 1978. He is officially due to leave office in 2013, unless he changes the constitution.
- Qat is the most popular drug in Yemen, with effects similar to amphetamine. Chewing starts after lunch, with men and women in separate rooms. Leaves are plucked and gently crushed between the teeth until a wad builds up in the cheek. It’s a social activity and chewers’ conversation often centres on politics. Qat is a stimulant, so chewers without religious scruples often wash it down with whisky in order to sleep.
- Shibam, in Hadramaut province, is an extraordinary city, sometimes known as “the Manhattan of the desert”. It consists of some 500 mud-built tower houses resembling skyscrapers, some of them as many as 11 storeys high. Shibam is a Unesco world heritage site, as is the old city of Sana’a.
- Yemen claims to be the ancient homeland of the Queen of Sheba (Balqis or Bilqis in Arabic). Her dealings with the Jewish king Solomon are mentioned in the Bible and the Qur’an
- Yemenis take much pride in their wedding traditions. An average wedding feast lasts 21 days.
- Shared taxis are the preferred mode of transportation in Yemen. The Yemenis call it bijou, after the Peugeot cars used for cabs.
- Yemen is an ultraconservative Muslim country. Homosexual behavior is punishable by death, and it is forbidden to take pictures of women.
- Tourists are expected to give pens (referred to as qalam or galam) for the local school. Sweets are also acceptable.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Yemen
- The history of Yemen dates back to the Minaean (1200–650 B.C. ) and Sabaean (750–115 B.C. ) kingdoms. Ancient Yemen (centered around the port of Aden) engaged in the lucrative myrrh and frankincense trade. It was invaded by the Romans (1st century A.D. ) as well as the Ethiopians and Persians (6th century A.D. ).
- In A.D. 628 it converted to Islam and in the 10th century came under the control of the Rassite dynasty of the Zaidi sect, which remained involved in North Yemeni politics until 1962. The Ottoman Turks nominally occupied the area from 1538 to the decline of their empire in 1918. The northern portion of Yemen was ruled by imams until a pro-Egyptian military coup took place in 1962. The junta proclaimed the Yemen Arab Republic, and after a civil war in which Egypt’s Nasser and the USSR supported the revolutionaries and King Saud of Saudi Arabia and King Hussein of Jordan supported the royalists, the royalists were finally defeated in mid-1969.
- The southern port of Aden, strategically located at the opening of the Red Sea, was colonized by Britain in 1839, and by 1937, with an expansion of its territory, it was known as the Aden Protectorate. In the 1960s the Nationalist Liberation Front (NLF) fought against British rule, which led to the establishment of the People’s Republic of Southern Yemen on Nov. 30, 1967. In 1979, under strong Soviet influence, the country became the only Marxist state in the Arab world.
- The Republic of Yemen was established on May 22, 1990, when pro-Western Yemen and the Marxist Yemen Arab Republic merged after 300 years of separation to form the new nation. The poverty and decline in Soviet economic support in the south was an important incentive for the merger. The new president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was elected by the parliaments of both countries.
- Yemenis usually eat three times a day at home. The traditional diet varies locally and socially and is open to innovations. Generally, there is an early breakfast of sweet strong tea with bread made of sorghum, wheat, or barley; dinner includes a porridge prepared from fenugreek with meat, eggs, vegetables, herbs, and spices, which is served hot in a stone or clay bowl; a light supper consists of vegetables and/or dates. One can drink a glass of tea or a brew of coffee husks outdoors in the daytime.
- Social and individual interactions are determined by customary law and religious regulations, which include structured series of verbal exchanges and salutations in greeting or saying good-bye and the avoidance of women who are not close relatives. The strata disparity reflected in behavioral norms has been lessening but still exists in regard to marital and other rules.
- Most marriages are arranged by the families: a bridegroom’s female relatives suggest potential brides to him and his father, who come to a decision according to the rules of martial conformity. In most cases, the woman’s father asks her about her wishes before the marriage contract is prepared. Groom and bride are attached to their respective descent groups through the male line: The father of the groom has to pay a brideprice mahr , and the family of the bride is expected to help her in times of hardship.
- By tradition, Yemeni men wear a long robe or a striped skirt (futa) with a curved dagger (jambiyya) at the front, attached to a decorative belt. Jambiyyas are unsheathed and brandished above the head when dancing.
- Yemenis observe the Five Pillars of Islam, including five prayers a day and a daytime fast during the month of Ramadan. The weekly day of rest is Friday. Religious celebrations include 27 Ramadan, the Night of Power; 1 Shawwal, the Lesser Feast; 10 Dhu al-Hijja, the Greater Feast, or the Feast of Sacrifice, commemorating the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca; 12 Rabi’ al-Awwal, the birthday of the Prophet; 10 Muharram, the day of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn; and 27 Rajab, the day of the Prophet’s miraculous journey. In mid-Rajab, pilgrimages are usually made to the tombs of local saints.
- Medieval culture was rich in historical, geographic, and religious works; agricultural almanacs; astronomical treatises; and rhymed prose. Poetry in classical and colloquial styles is the most popular art form. Since the Middle Ages, poetry has been spoken, sung, and improvised during social events, at performances, and in competitions.
- Traditional performaces include musical-poetical improvisations called dan in the Hadhramaut, at which singers chant a tune without words and poets offer them a freshly created text line by line. There are choral ritual processions, tribal call songs, special types of regional songs, and local and strata dances.