30 Interesting Facts About Yemen

  1. Yemen is a mountainous country in the southwestern Arabian Peninsula. It is located at a strategic location due to its vicinity to Bab-el-Mandeb (a strait between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa).
  2. The history of Yemen is nearly 3,000 years old. Ancient Yemen was dominated by the kingdoms of Minaean, Sabaeans, and Himyarites.
  3. Abraha was the Christian ruler of Yemen during the 6th Century. He tried to capture Mecca but remained unsuccessful. There is a chapter in the Holy Quran describing his failed attempt.
  4. Islam arrived in Yemen during the 7th Century and spread quickly. It remained under the control of several Sunni and Shia dynasties from the 9th to 15th centuries.
  5. Arwa al-Sulayha was the last ruler of the Sulayhid dynasty in Yemen. She was the longest-reigning queen of Yemen and one of the two female monarchs in the Muslim Arab world to have had their names in Khutbah in the mosques. (Source)
  6. Yemen remained under Ottoman control from 1538 to 1635 and again from 1872 to 1918. The country became divided between the Ottomans and the British in 1914. The Ottomans left Yemen in 1918.
  7. The northern part of Yemen (ruled by the Ottoman Empire) became the Mutawwakalite Kingdom of Yemen. It transformed into the Yemen Arab Republic (also known as North Yemen) from 1918 to 1990.
  8. The British-controlled part of Yemen became the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (commonly known as South Yemen) in 1962. North and South Yemen united to form the Republic of Yemen in 1990.
  9. Yemen has been facing a political crisis since 2011. It resulted in the Yemeni Civil War that started in 2014 and is still ongoing.
  10. The continuous civil war, regional instability, and humanitarian crisis have made Yemen the most fragile state in the world. (Source)
  11. The political crisis has severely hampered the development and progress of Yemen. It is one of the 46 least developed countries (LDCs) in the world and one of the 6 LDCs in Asia. (Source)
  12. Yemen has the lowest HDI (human development index) in Asia and the 13th lowest in the world. (Source)
  13. Yemen is generally an arid country. However, few parts of Yemen receive the heaviest rainfall in the Arabian Peninsula. 
  14. Khat, a stimulant plant, is widely cultivated in Yemen. Chewing of khat is widespread in the country. Around 90% of adult males and 50% of females in Yemen chew khat daily for several hours. 60% of the land for cash crops and 30% of groundwater in Yemen is used for khat cultivation. (Source)
    Leaves of khat plant
    90% of Yemeni adult males chew khat daily

  15. Socotra, an archipelago of islands in Yemen, is known for being the most alien-looking place on earth. Around 33% of its plant life is endemic. The most famous plants on the island are Dragon’s blood tree and the dragon rose. Approximately 70% of the island is under protection as a national park. It was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2008. (Source)
  16. Jabal an-Nabi Shu’ayb in Yemen is the highest point in the Arabian Peninsula, with an altitude of 3,666 m (12,028 ft.). Jabal Sabir in Yemen is the 3rd highest point in the region.
  17. Yemen has the highest gender gap in the world. The gender equality score of Yemen is just 0.5 out of a total of 1. (Source)
  18. More than 90% of Yemenis are Arabs. Modern Standard Arabic is the country’s official language.
  19. Around 65% of people in Yemen are Sunni Muslims, while the remaining population mostly follows the Zaydi branch of Shia Islam. It is the only country with a sizable Zaydi Shia population.
  20. Despite its political crisis and civil war, Yemen is hosting more than 280,000 refugees. Most of these refugees are from Somalia. (Source)
  21. There are five UNESCO world heritage sites in Yemen. Four of these are cultural sites, while Socotra archipelago is the only natural site. (Source)
  22. The central, western, and parts of  eastern Yemen are mountainous. Rub al-Khali, the world's largest sand desert, is located on its northeast and eastern sides.
  23. Shibam in Yemen is known as the world’s oldest skyscraper city. This walled city with vertical construction was established during the 16th Century. Buildings in this city are up to seven stories high and were constructed from fertile soil. It is also known as “the Manhattan of the desert.” (Source)
  24. Like Ethiopia, Yemen also claims that the Biblical figure Queen of Sheba was of Yemeni origin. Many scholars believe that her kingdom was present in modern Yemen. (Source)
  25. Dar al Hajar Palace in the Yemeni capital Sana’a is a famous castle built atop a natural rock. Its construction took place during the 1930s. (Source)
  26. Mocha coffee is named after the Yemeni port city of Al Moka. It was the main trading center for Moka coffee beans during the 17th Century. (Source)
  27. The Port of Aden in Yemen is known as one of the best shipping ports in the Middle East. It is also one of the largest and oldest seaports in this region.
  28. Yemeni men wear a traditional dagger, known as a jambiya, to show their social class and wealth. This dagger has a curved, double-edged blade. (Source)
  29. Yemen has the second-highest civilian gun ownership in the world after the USA. There are around 53 guns for every 100 people in Yemen. (Source)
  30. Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. She received this prize for her peaceful struggle for the safety of women. (Source)

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