Yemen – Beautiful Sceneries and Striking Architecture
Located on the southernmost tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is a country that shares border with Saudi Arabia and Oman and has other neighbours in the form of the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Consisting of 200 islands, Yemen is visited by tourists to experience the landscapes and Islamic architecture of the place.
Starting from 2200 BC, Yemen experienced the rule of a number of kingdoms, the most important of them being Sabaean, Minaean, Qatabanian, Awsanian, and many more. Spice trade was the main attraction for the people to learn more about this region. Arabia Felix, which translates to Happy Arabia was the title given to this place by the Romans to express the place’s richness. It was in the 7th century AD that Islamic caliphs started making its influence in the region. However, after they became less powerful, the imams of Zaidi and many other dynasties started controlling the place. Egyptian Sunni caliphs became most powerful in the north of Yemen by the 11th century.
While the Ottoman Empire became powerful in the north of Yemen by the 19th century, the British Empire was able to influence the area presently known as south of Yemen. It was the weakening of the Ottoman Empire during World War I that enforced them to free Yemen in 1918. Also, the British Empire was enforced to free the south of Yemen in 1967. It was in 1990 that the two parts were joined to form the Republic of Yemen. Civil war and violence dominated the area in the years that followed.
Yemen is divided into different regions on the basis of diverse geography offered by it. Yemeni coastal plains along the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, Yemeni mountains, Yemeni highlands, Red Sea islands and Empty Quarter desert area are the main regions of the country. The important cities are Sana’a, Aden, Shibam, Hutaib, Ibb and Kawkaban.
Yemen is known for its heritage sites listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Shibam, the old walled city of the country, is popular for its skyscrapers. Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, is another ancient city popular for huge number of mosques, bath houses and houses that are centuries old. The historic town of Zabid and Socotra Archipelago are other two sites listed with UNESCO.
Some other popular sites are the Great Mosque of Sana’a, National Museum in Taherir Square, the garden city of Rawdha and the Mareb Dam. Old sites of art and architecture can be found at various ancient cities, including Sa’dah, Ta’izz and Amran.
Travel permit is required to travel the cities other than the national capital. It is recommended to hire a tourist guide to avoid getting trapped in the civil violence. Bus services are cheap, though hiring a taxi is a good idea.
Places of Entertainment
Shahara is the mountain massif that offers the opportunity of climbing. A number of lounges can be found at Little Aden beaches to have great fun. Socotra Island can be visited for hiking and camping. Diving and sailing are great opportunities to enjoy. Visiting Sad'ah Basin can be a unique experience, as one can walk through the grape crops grown here. One can also visit the orchards of variety of fruits like apricots, walnuts, peaches and almonds. Jambias, head-dresses, belts, spices and souvenirs are some of the popular items to purchase. Salta and sweet dishes are the main attractions o restaurant menus.
Palace hotels are wonderful accommodations to stay. One can find budget hotels, tribal huts, camping sites and other accommodations as well.
Yemeni Riyal (YER), divided into 100 fils, is the official currency of the country. Coins are available as 1, 5 and 10, while notes can be found in the form of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 denominations. Currency can be exchanged at banks and hotels, apart from bureaux de change. Don’t forget to go through the news about exchange rates and information about bank timings.
Group accommodation in Yemen | Cheap Hotels