50 Fascinating Facts About Yemen

Yemen, a sovereign state on the Arabian Peninsula, is home to a variety of cultural and historical gems that are worth exploring. It was the origin of ancient sophisticated civilizations that flourished there. Despite the fact that the country is now dealing with a number of economic, political, and social challenges, it was once considered to be one of the wealthiest Arab countries. Here are some interesting facts about the country that serves as a reminder of the country's former glory:

Fascinating Facts

Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East.
In 2000, Yemen was listed as a "high priority" country by the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in-person report.
Since about 1200 BC, Yemen has been the site of a succession of great and prosperous city-states and empires that have lasted more than 2,000 years. Their affluence was partly attributed to the manufacture of frankincense and myrrh, which were two of the most highly prized commodities in antiquity.
According to folklore, Yemen's capital, Sana'a, was created by Shem, one of Noah's three sons who appeared in the Bible's Old Testament book of the tale of the deluge.
The Old City of Sana'a, which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, has been inhabited for over 2,500 years and was a prominent Islamic center throughout the 7th and 8th centuries. One hundred three mosques, 14 hammams, and nearly 6,000 homes, all of which were established before the 11th century, may be found on the site.
Yemen has more than 300,000 members of the Houthi tribe, who live mainly in Saada Governorate along the Saudi border and are known as one of the most rebellious tribes in Yemen.
Sana'a is the oldest city in the world that is still inhabited.
The ancient dam of Marib was once one of the largest dams in the world.
In 2009, Yemeni authorities arrested an American citizen suspected of being a member of Al-Qaeda.
The Jewish population of Yemen was around 80,000 in 1948.
More than 1 million Yemeni citizens live and work abroad, with many finding employment in Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries.
In 2010, the Yemeni government spent $4 billion on fuel subsidies which are nearly a quarter of its budget and 97% of its oil exports.
The Saudis bombed the Sana'a International Airport twice during the brief Saudi-Yemeni border conflict of 2009.
Yemen has a law system called "Khams" and is derived from tribal Sharia Law, which is applied differently in every area of the country depending on its tribal nature.
A 2009 study found that 81% of Yemenis suffered from some form of psychological trauma and stress-related illness.
In 2008, Yemeni officials refused to allow President Obama's plane to refuel on its way back from neighboring Somalia.
The Umayyad Mosque in Sana'a is one of the oldest and largest mosques in the world.
In 2011, Yemeni authorities arrested a British citizen suspected of being a member of Al-Qaeda.
The ancient city of Zabid is home to the world's oldest university, founded in 888 AD.
The Yemeni rial is the world's least valuable currency, worth less than 1 cent.
The "Old City" of Sana'a is the best example of urban planning in Islam.
Yemen is divided into twenty-four governorates, which are sub-divided into 333 districts.
In 2013, Yemen's various political factions agreed to create a more united government with a new president, prime minister, and cabinet.
Sana'a's Great Mosque contains the world's tallest minaret, standing at 210 feet high
The ancient land of Sheba was present-day Yemen in antiquity, where it broke away from the empire around 700 BC to form its own kingdom until 525 BC when it united with the realm of Himyar.
In September 2014, a Yemeni soldier was killed by Saudi airstrikes on his home near Taiz, leading to street protests against the government's alleged collaboration with Saudi Arabia in the bombing campaign.
Although officially a republic, Yemen has been governed by more than 30 different governments since 1918, and every single president has been assassinated.
The Yemeni government is accused of corruption, abuse of power, and the suppression of liberties by Freedom House in its 2006 report on Yemen.
The Umayyad Mosque was initially built by Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, one of the prominent companions of Muhammad.
In 2010, the Yemeni government announced its plans to build a large new dam on the Wadi Abyan, which would flood an area of 5,000 square kilometers.
The ancient city of Ma'rib was once the center of the Sabaean kingdom, which dominated southern Arabia for centuries.
The port city of Aden is thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
Yemen is home to 178 species of mammals, more than 340 species of birds, and 95 species of reptiles.
The Yemeni government spends $1 billion – about four percent – on its military annually, according to a 2009 U.S. State Department report on arms spending and trade.
Yemenis are well-known for chewing khat, a mild amphetamine-like stimulant with a long history of use that extends back thousands of years. The use of khat by adult males is believed to be up to 90 percent daily, with adult women probably accounting for up to 50 percent of total consumption.
The Old Walled City of Shibam, which dates back to the 16th century and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is referred to as "the Manhattan of the desert" because of its spectacular tower-like constructions and the rectangular grid pattern of streets and squares.
The "Marib Dam" is actually a series of six dams and reservoirs built between 1960 and 1977 to provide irrigation, drinking water, and electricity to the city of Ma'rib
A 2010 study found al-Qaeda militants carry as much as $600,000 in cash on them at any one time.
"Reclamation" is a popular folk music genre that emerged during Yemen's 1994 civil war and has continued since then throughout the country – particularly in the northwest.
The Republic of Yemen claims Socotra as its territory, but it remains under Yemeni protection and is governed by Yemen's Ministry of Environment.
In the aftermath of the 2011 revolution, unemployment rose to 40%, with many graduates unable to find work.
Under President Saleh's rule, Yemen became one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita income of just over $1,000.
The Yemeni government is reported to have close ties with the Iranian government and Hezbollah.
In 2009, it was reported that up to 40% of Yemen's children were suffering from malnutrition.
The Yemeni government ended a year-long telecommunications shutdown in May 2013 after protests broke out at the push of a Facebook "like" button
Under a Yemeni law from 2007, journalists can be jailed for up to five years if they are found guilty of defaming their security forces.
In 2014 Yemen celebrated its 20th anniversary of unification.
The Yemeni Civil War began in March 2015, when Houthi rebels took control of Sana'a and forced the president to flee to Aden.
In October 2016, a U.S. airstrike killed Ali al-Awlaki, an American citizen and member of al-Qaeda, in Yemen.
Yemen is the most impoverished country in the Middle East.