Yemen is also known as the "Jewel of Arabia." Did you know that the leaf qat, which has stimulant properties, is popular in Yemeni folklore? Yemen is the land of religious scholarship, the Queen of Sheba and the birthplace of coffee trade. Parts of Yemen were under the Ottomans, Qassimi dynasty, British and Zayadi dynasty during its history, and the Republic of Yemen was formed on May 22, 1990. Yemen is a developing country, and oil accounts for over 70% of the government revenue. Yemen has an area of approximately 555,000 sq km with a population of over 21 million. Sana'a is the capital of Yemen. Yemeni riyal is the currency. Temperatures range from 20 C during the winter to over 40 C during the summer. The best time to visit Yemen is between November and February.
Saudi Arabia and Oman share borders with Yemen and it is possible to acquire a visa at the border crossing. Aden, Hudaydah, al-Khawkha, al-
Mokha, Nashtoon and Mukalla are the six ports of Yemen, and some cruise lines have stops at some of these ports. The crime rate of Yemen is low, and there have been very few attacks against tourists. Women travelling to the region should dress conservatively. It is advisable to carry hiking shoes, comfortable clothes and sunscreen.
The location of Yemen is unique because of its proximity to Asia, Africa and Europe. It has an assortment of wildlife such as leopards, baboons and hyrax from Africa, mongoose and monitors from Asia, and fox and wolf from Eurasia. The region is at the intersection of migration routes for birds. Over 370 species of birds are available, out of which 25 are endemic. The plant life in the region has adapted to the arid environment. Approximately 2.9% of the land is arable, and under cultivation. The waters off the coast are full of marine life with over 1000 species.
Tihama, the central highlands and the desert areas are the three main regions of Yemen. The most popular tourist attractions of Yemen are Old Sanaa, Haraz Mountains, Marib, Suqutra and Wadi Hadramawt. Other attractions include Ghumdan Palace, hammams, art galleries, National Art Centre, Al-Bab Gallery, Al-Hoda Supermarket, Mumbai Durbar, Souq al-Milh, Hope in their Hands, National Women's Centre for Development Handicrafts, Shibam, Gold Mohur Club, Great Mosque, Sultans Palace, Military Museum, Shaharah, Al-Rayan, Houmald Salta, Aden Minaret, Sailors Club, National Handicrafts Training Centre, Mukala Museum, Tourist Harbour, and Al-Fanoos. UNESCO declared Old Sanaa a world heritage site in 1984. It is one of the worlds most beautiful cities with art galleries, and you could spend days wandering aimlessly through works of art. Yemeni honey is popular, and there are honey shops are all around the capital, where you may buy beautiful honeycombs for 2000 Yemeni riyals. The National Museum is the largest on the Arabian Peninsula and has a collection of exquisite artifacts from Yemeni history. Yemen has unique cuisine such as saltah, fahsah and fasoolia, and most dishes include rice with variations of chicken and goat.