Capital | San’a
Population | 22,858,238
Area | 527,970 SQ KM
Official Language | Arabic
Holidays | Unification Day, 22 May (1990)
Currency | Yemeni rials (YER)
Time Zone | UTC+3
Best Time to Visit | October to March (when the daytime temperatures are pleasant and the rain infrequent)
Connecting with the Culture | Exploring the old quarter of San’a – one of the largest preserved medinas in the Arab world, and home to mud-brick skyscrapers built to a 1000 year-old design. Visiting Al-Makah, the first important coffee port on the Red Sea. Marveling at the ruins of the great dam at Ma’rib, a feat of engineering that watered the desert for 1000 years. Meandering through the covered alleys of the Friday market at Bayt al-Faqih. Enjoying the hospitality of the historic cities of Shibam, Sayun, and Tarim in the fertile Wadi Hadramawt.
Read | Tim Mackintosh-Smith’s Yemen, Travels in Dictionary Land – wry observations of Yemeni life from a long time San’a resident
Listen | to Yemenite Songs by Ofra Haza
Eat | lentil or lamb shurba (soup), or salta (a fiery stew of lamb, beans, peppers, and coriander)
Drink | tea scented with cardamom, or coffee
In a Word | Mumkin ithnayn shai (two teas please)
Characteristics | Frankincense, silver jewelry, date palms, stony villages, daily sessions of chewing mildly intoxicating quat, an national obsession.
Surprises | Figs and peaches; deliciously spontaneous approach to life; Yemenis are renowned in the Middle East for their sense of humor.