Yemen is part of the Middle East, but few travelers have this country on their itinerary when visiting the region due to poor infrastructure and security. However, it is also a beautiful place with rich biodiversity and nature. There are many interesting facts about Yemen that offer a glimpse of the country’s history, culture, cuisine, and things that it is known for.
If you want to learn more about this intriguing country, here are some fun Yemen facts that are good to know.
Historical Facts About Yemen
Yemen has a long history, and the region has also been mentioned in the Bible and other ancient documents. This is why it is crucial to have some historical information about Yemen.
Mocha Is A Port City That Found This Type Of Coffee In The 14th Century
Many people are not familiar with this, but the word ‘Mocha’ actually comes from the city of the same name in Yemen.
This is a port city, and it is most likely where coffee originated in the country during the 14th century. Yemen started getting its coffee from this area and then began exporting throughout the world.
Yemen Used To Be Known As Arabia Felix
Arabia Felix is a Latin name, and this is what Yemen was called. The translation of this name refers to happy or fortunate Arabia. That is because Yemen used to be the most fertile out of all the lands in the region, which stabilized the population and country for a long time.
One Of The World’s Oldest Cities, Sana’a, Is In Yemen
Sana’a is one of the oldest cities in the region and it has been inhabited for a long time now. It is believed that people have been living here for more than 2000 years.
During the 7th and 8th centuries, it used to be the hub for Islam and is now a UNESCO Heritage Site. You can now visit the city and experience all the interesting history it has to offer. One of the highlights here is the architecture which showcases glimpses of traditional, Islamic settlements.
The Kingdom Of Sheba Was In Yemen
The Kingdom of Sheba is one of the most popular ancient kingdoms. It used to be the home of the Queen of Sheba. Based on ancient knowledge available today, the Sheba kingdom was in what is now Yemen.
South Yemen Was Once A Communist State
South Yemen was a Marxist state for around 23 years. In 1967, the country became independent from British rule and after that, there was a communist coup. This made South Yemen the first and only communist Marxist state in the Arab world.
Cultural Facts About Yemen
Now that you have some historical understanding of Yemen, it is just as important to understand the culture. It represents the people, food, and everything else you will find in Yemen. Here are some facts about Yemen culture to know about.
Men Show Social Status By Carrying A Jambiya In Public
In most countries, status symbols are shown by cars or the latest iPhone that people own. However, that is not the case in Yemen. Instead, it is a custom for men to carry a curved dagger (Jambiya) when they go out in public. It represents the high social status of the person.
You Have To Try Mandi When You Come Here
A traditional Yemen food to try when you visit the country is Mandi. This dish consists of chicken or lamb meat spread upon a bed of fragrant basmati rice. As you take a bite of Mandi, you will fall in love with the aromatic and spicy flavors that define Yemen cuisine.
You Will Notice A Lot Of People Chewing Khat
Khat is a narcotic plant, and you will find it being cultivated everywhere in the region. People in Yemen love to chew on it during the afternoon, and many locals also believe that it helps them make better decisions. Around 90% of men and over 50% of women chew this plant daily.
Simple Facts About Yemen For Kids
It’s always eye-opening for kids to understand other countries and cultures. Here are some facts about Yemen for kids that you can teach the little ones.
Yemen Has A High Poverty Rate
Unfortunately, Yemen has one of the highest poverty rates in the world. That is because over 55% of the population lives below the poverty line. Meanwhile, close to 20% of the population live in extreme poverty, making it a poor country.
The Dragon Blood Tree Grows In Yemen
The Dragon Blood Tree is a unique tree that is native to Yemen, and it grows on Socotra Island. The tree looks like a green umbrella that has been held upright. It is one of the most beautiful species of trees, and the red resin that is produced by the tree is responsible for the imposing name.
Most of The Country Is Covered In Desert
Over 50% of Yemen is covered in the desert; which amounts to more than 2,300,000 square kilometers. The only place that beats this record is the Sahara Desert. If you are someone that loves the desert region, you will find the landscape of Yemen particularly intriguing.
Useful Yemen Facts For Travelers
If you are planning to visit Yemen anytime soon, here are some fun facts about Yemen that can be helpful.
The Old Walled City Of Shibam Is A UNESCO Site
The city of Shibam originated in the 16th century and is a popular UNESCO Heritage Site. This city features more than 500 towers completely made of mud and brick. Some of these towers go up to eleven stories, and if you think about it, they may be some of the first skyscrapers that existed in the world.
You Will Find A Former Palace Carved Out Of One Rock Column
Some people consider a trip to Yemen incomplete without visiting the Dar Al-Hajar Palace. There are five stories inside this palace, with two of them built inside the rock and three visible on top of the rock. This impressive structure was built in the 1920s and is now a museum that you must explore.
There Are Around 112 Islands In Yemen
There are more than a hundred islands spread throughout Yemen, but most of them are not even accessible. The most popular island is Socotra, and you should visit it while you are there. The natural landscape features some unique plants and animals that you won’t find anywhere else.
Common Facts About Yemen
There Is A Shortage Of Food In The Country
Millions of people are suffering from hunger in Yemen due to poor food security. It also has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition in the world. Unfortunately, the situation only seems to get worse with time.
Silversmiths From Here Were Known For Their Exceptional Work
Between the 18th and 20th centuries, Yemeni-Jewish silversmiths from the country were known throughout the world for their exceptional craftsmanship. They produced lots of jewelry that people wore around the world. Sadly, it’s almost a lost art and you will not find these silversmiths anymore.
There Are Some Very Beautiful Animals Indigenous To Yemen
There is a fair amount of unique wildlife in Yemen, which include Socotran chameleons, Striped Hyenas, Socotra warblers, sunbird, and much more. One thing to check out in the country is its nature and biodiversity.
Despite being mostly covered in desert, Yemen still has coastal plains, mountains, mangroves, and forests.
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Other Interesting Facts About Yemen
Yemen Is The Only Republic In The Surrounding Region
The unification of Yemen took place in 1990, and it is the only republic in the Arabian Peninsula. Because of this, it is also known as the Republic of Yemen.
The Country Is Conservative
When you visit the country, you will find that the culture is very conservative as it strictly follows Islam. Women don’t pose for pictures publicly, and they have to dress modestly when they are out. Make sure to respect the local culture when you are there.
Yemen Is Going Through A Civil War And Unrest
The civil war in the country began in 2014, and the conflict in Yemen has torn the country apart. There is a lot of political instability, and the people are suffering. Because of this, it is also not the safest country to visit.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Yemen
These are just some of the interesting facts about Yemen that really barely scratch the surface. The Middle Eastern country is a destination that is both intriguing and challenging.
On one hand, it boasts a rich cultural heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and a unique charm that you won’t find anywhere else. From the ancient city of Sana’a to its colorful markets, Yemen offers a glimpse into a world that’s far removed from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
On the other hand, the country has faced significant political instability and security concerns in recent years, which can make travel to Yemen difficult and dangerous. Keep this in mind before you decide to go to Yemen, as not every time is a good time for anyone to visit.