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Yemen: the Arabia Felix of the ancients

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Yemen (Al-Jumhuriya al-Yamaniya, Yemen Arab Republic) is an Arab republic, with the capital Sana’a, located in the extreme southwest of the Arabian Peninsula. This country on the Arabian Peninsula is washed in the west by the Red Sea and in the south by the Gulf of Aden (Indian Ocean). While it borders Saudi Arabia to the north, and Oman to the east.

The territory of Yemen includes numerous islands. The largest of which is the island of Socotra (3,796 sq km) located in the Indian Ocean, about 400 km south of the Yemeni coast and 250 km east of the Somali coast. Between Socotra and the African coasts there are three other islands that are part of Yemen: Abd al Kuri (133 sq km), Samhah (40 sq km), Darsah (16 sq km). Other islands belonging to Yemen are located in the Red Sea among these: the Hanish islands, the island of Kamaran (108 sq km) and that of Perim (13 sq km) located at the mouth of the Bab al-Mandab strait.


The territory of Yemen is largely mountainous. The western region, which overlooks the Red Sea, is formed by a plateau, cultivated in terraces, where abundant rain falls. On average between 600 and 1,000 mm per year. This is the most prosperous area in the country. While the western coast along the Red Sea is instead characterized by an arid and dry semi-desert plain, the Tihāma.

The center of the village is formed by the central highlands which are higher than 2,000 meters and are characterized by irregular and less abundant rainfall than that of the western highlands. Here is also the capital Sana’a, in whose vicinity rises the highest mountain in Yemen, the Jabal an Nabi Shu’ayb (3,760 meters). To the east of the central plateau at altitudes below 1,000 meters, the desert of Rub ‘al-Khālī extends. This is a very arid sandy desert. Close to the Indian Ocean coast rises the Hadhramaut mountain range furrowed by deep valleys.

Yemen is a very poor country with an agricultural economy. Agriculture (cereals, citrus fruits, bananas, dates, tobacco, cotton, qat and coffee), breeding (goats, sheep, cattle) and fishing are the cornerstones of the economy. While industries and mineral resources are scarce (copper, oil). The port of Aden is of considerable importance for its strategic position near the mouth of the Bab al-Mandab strait, which connects the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean.

The climate of Yemen.

  • Area: 527,968 sqkm. (Arable 3%, Pastures 30%, Forests and Woodlands 4%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 63%)
  • Population: 22,230,000 (2007 data)
  • State Capital: Sana’a.
  • Languages: The official language is Arabic.
  • Religion: Muslim 99%.
  • Currency: Yemeni Rial (YER)
  • Time: UTC +3 hours.



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