A sovereign state in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is a nation with many cultural and historical treasures. It was the seat of ancient advanced civilizations. Although today the country suffers from many economic, political, and social issues, it was one of the wealthiest Arab nations in the past. Here are some facts about the country that reminds us of the nation’s past glory:
10. In The Past, Yemen Was Known As The “Happy Land”
Although the country faces many issues in the modern times, it was known as Arabia Felix in the past. The term means “fortunate” or “happy.” It was called so since Yemen was more fertile than most of the Arabian Peninsula. The mountains of the country invited rains that contributed to a flourishing agriculture in the region. The region therefore supported a stable population for centuries.
9. Yemen’s Silversmiths Were World Famous In The Past
Jewish silversmiths from Yemen were well known for their excellent craftsmanship. They ruled the precious metal craft production in the southern Arabian Peninsula from the 18th to the mid-20th century. The silversmiths produced jewelry with fine filigree and granulation work. Their work won admiration all over the world.
8. Chewing The Narcotic Khat-plant Is Part Of Yemeni Culture
Khat or Qat is a plant widely cultivated in Yemen. The juice of this plant has an amphetamine-like effect. The people of the country love to chew this plant in the afternoons as a tradition. It is even a part of the nation’s business culture and chewing khat is believed to assist in the decision-making process. The plant has a constituent alkaloid called cathinone that triggers euphoria and excitement.
7. Yemen Is Home To World’s Oldest Skyscraper City
Yemen hosts Shibam, a city of about 7,000 inhabitants in the district of Shibam. The city is famous for its ancient mudbrick high-rise buildings. About 500 such houses occur in the city with some being as high as 11 stories. These high-rise buildings date back to the 16th century. Thus, Shibam is often called the “Manhattan of the Desert.” It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
6. Caffè Mocha Derives Its Name From Yemen
Mocha is a city located on Yemen’s Red Sea coast. The city served as a major hub of the coffee trade from the 15th to the 18th centuries. The Mocha beans sold at Mocha were famous for their distinctive flavor. Although the coffee was grown in the city, it arrived in the port city from interior locations where large coffee plantations existed. The caffè mocha, a popular chocolate flavored variant of caffè latte in today’s world derives its name from Mocha in Yemen.
5. Yemen’s Capital City Is One Of The World’s Oldest Continuously Inhabited Cities
Sana’a is the capital city of Yemen. It is one of the world’s most ancient cities that is still inhabited. With a population of 3,937,500 (2012), Sana’a is also the country’s largest city. It is located at an average elevation of 7,500 ft making it one of the world’s highest capital cities. According to local legends, the son of Noah named Shem established Sana’a.
4. The Dragon Blood Tree Grows In Yemen
A unique tree, the Dracaena cinnabari or the dragon blood tree grows in the Yemeni island of Socotra. The appearance of the tree can be easily compared to that of an umbrella held upright. The dark red resin produced by this tree gives it its name. The tree has immense medicinal value and different parts of it have specific medical applications.
3. The World’s Largest Contiguous Sand Desert Covers Parts Of Yemen -
The Rub' al Khali is regarded as the largest continuous sand desert on Earth. It occupies an area of 650,000 square km. Parts of Yemen, Oman, UAE, and Saudi Arabia are in this desert area. The Rub' al Khali is a part of the Arabian Desert and has one of the harshest climates in the world.
2. Was Yemen The Home Of The Biblical "Queen of Sheba"
Sheba was an ancient kingdom that finds mention in the Quran and the Hebrew Bible. Sheba was the home of the biblical “Queen of Sheba” a figure that has been mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. According to popular beliefs, the kingdom of Shiba was based in modern-day Yemen.
1. The Dar al-Hajar Is An Iconic Building In Yemen That Was Carved Out Of One Massive Rock
The Dar al-Hajar is a palace that was built quite recently in the 1930s by Yahya Muhammad Hamiddin, an Islamic spiritual leader ruling in Yemen. There are five stories in the building with three stories visible above the rock and the other two built into the rock itself. After the owner of the palace was assassinated in 1948, the museum was set up in the Dar al-Hajar and today it can be visited by the public.