About Yemen

An Introduction To The History, Geography & Culture of Yemen

The Republic of Yemen is located in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia in the north, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden in the south - the Sultanate of Oman in the east and the Red Sea in the west.Its largest city and Capital is Sana’a, and the official language is Modern Standard Arabic – although many Yemini’s speak very good English.
Ancient Yemen was home to one of the oldest civilisations in the Middle East, and the nation has a rich cultural heritage and history. The modern country was formed with the unification of the North and South on 22 May 1990 – forming the Republic.
The only state on the Arabian Peninsula to have a republican form of government, the country was the first in the region to grant women the right to vote. The population is mainly divided into tribal groups of Arab origin, with just over half the country’s inhabitants being Sunni Muslims, and just under half being Shiite.
Yemen lies directly on the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab - one of the most important straits in the world. In addition, the Republic’s Strait of Bab Al-Mandab links the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean. Doubling the importance of Yemen’s location is the spread of more than 200 islands along Yemeni territorial water in the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

A Country Growing In Prominence

Culturally and historically, Yemen has been influenced by many different cultures due to its geographical position, especially the ancient civilisation of Sheba – and has flourished to become a modern and forward-thinking nation.
The country is also renowned for its areas of outstanding beauty, including its four UNESCO World Heritage sites; the walled city of Shibam, the ancient city of Sana’a, the historic town of Zabidand the Socotra Archipelago.
As in other parts of the region, modern Yemini’s are very fond of football and other outdoor sports such as skiing, hiking and rock climbing – all made possible in the popular Sarawat and Jabal an-Nabi Shu'aibMountains.
With high adult literacy rates, stable governance and a relatively small but growing oil-based economy, Yemen is working hard to improve its regional and global standing on all levels.

  • Full name: Republic of Yemen
  • Population: 24.8 million (UN, 2011)
  • Capital: Sana’a
  • Area: 536,869 sq km (207,286 sq miles)
  • Major language: Arabic
  • Major religion: Islam
  • Life expectancy: 65 years (men), 68 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Yemeni riyal = 100 fils
  • Main exports: Crude oil, cotton, coffee, fish
  • GNI per capita: US $1,070 (World Bank, 2011)
  • Internet domain: .ye
  • International dialling code: 967
  • Official Currency: Riyal (in 2013, the average rate: 215 Riyal per $1)
  • Main Ports: Aden, Hodeidah, Mukala and Mocka

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