Yemen Overview

By | October 29, 2020

Yemen is located on the southern Arabian Peninsula in southwest Asia. Yemen means the Land on the right (about Mecca) and is the area in southern Arabia that the ancient Greek and Roman geographers called Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia).

Yemen flagYemen 2

Capital: Sana
Biggest city: Sana
State: republic
Language: Arabic
Religion: Islam
Surface: 527 970 km²
Population: 25.2 million (2013)
Population density: 43 residents per km²
Expectancy: 63 years
Illiteracy: 50%
Currency: Yemeni rial (YER)
1 rial = 0.03 kr
GDP per capita: $ 2,600
Time difference: +2 hours
Electricity: 220/230 V AC, 50Hz
National Day: 22 May
Country area code: 967
2-Letter country abbreviation: YE (See more abbreviations on Abbreviationfinder)
Business: agriculture 63%, service sector 26%, industry 11%
Climate: predominantly dry; humid in the southwest and cooler in the western highlands; drier in the east

Yemen’s history dates back to the 8th century BC. mainly characterized by the trade in incense and the kingdoms based on it. The most significant of these was Saba with its capital Marib. Eventually, a slow decline began for the ancient kingdoms along the “incense path”. Although the Himyarites succeeded in uniting the country in the 200s, 525 was conquered by Aksum. In 628, Yemen joined the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the people quickly embraced Islam. Within the Caliphate, however, Yemen became a fringe state. This favored the emergence of several ruling dynasties in the ninth century, the most important of which was the Zaydites, who would rule North Yemen until 1962. When the center of gravity of the Mediterranean-India trade route shifted from Iraq to Egypt in the ninth century, the economic boom began in Yemen as well. .

With the Portuguese’s discovery of the sea route to India, Yemen lost importance in world trade. The country was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. With the opening of the Suez Canal in the 19th century, Yemen is once again in the eyes of the great powers. While Britain occupied Aden and South Yemen, the North Yemen under the Zaydites were able to assert their independence from the Ottoman Empire, but the ruling Imams failed to modernize the country. Their conservative regime led to the overthrow of the Zaydites in 1962 and to the proclamation of a republic. After this, a modernization of the country began, but the economic problems could not in fact be solved due to the rapid population growth. By joining South Yemen in 1990, they succeeded in uniting the countries into one kingdom.

Yemen is a genuine Arab state in terms of language and culture. The population consists mostly of Arabs, but on the coast in the Tihama area there are “black Arabs” who are descendants of former slaves and East African emigrants. South Asians occur mainly in the southern parts of Yemen. Islam is the largest religion and 90 percent of the people are Muslims. Arabic is the official language but English is widely spoken.

The Yemenis use traditional costumes and chew on the drug-classified drug kat in Sweden in the afternoons. Chewing cat is also part of Yemeni business culture to promote decision-making, but foreigners are not expected to participate. Cat contains cathinone and katin which are central stimulants and have great similarities to amphetamine.

Several of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located in Yemen; the ancient city of Shibam, the ancient city of Sanaa and the historic city of Zabid.


The following objects in Yemen are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The year in which the item was added to the list is indicated in parentheses.

  • Old Town of Shibam (1982)
  • Old Town of Sana’a (1986)
  • Historic city of Zabid (1993)
  • Socotra Archipelago, with rich flora and fauna (2008)


Electricity and electrical outlets in Yemen

Voltage: 220 V / 230 V

Frequency: 50 Hz

Type of plug: A, D, G

Need an adapter: Yes, Swedes need an adapter.


Weather in Sana

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Christmas Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average temperature °C 15 17 18 19 22 23 23 22 21 17 15 14
Day °C 22 24 24 25 27 28 28 27 26 23 22 21
Night °C 7 10 12 13 16 17 17 17 15 11 8 6


Aden is a port city in Yemen. In this place, the first settlement arose sometime between the 400s BC. and the 600s BC. The city consists of two parts: the port city (Little Aden), which is the modern city, and Madinat ash-Sha’b, which is the old city and where the government quarter was located. The suburbs of Khormaksar and Sheikh Othman are located north of the old city, and between these two suburbs is the Aden International Airport.

Aden was the capital of South Yemen. Since the unification of Yemen and South Yemen, Aden has become a duty-free zone.


According to Countryaah, Sana is the capital of Yemen, and has 1.7 million residents (2007). The city is very old and was probably founded as early as the second millennium BC.

The old, fortified city has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years and has a great wealth of architectural masterpieces. Major efforts to save some of the oldest buildings are underway, some of them more than 400 years old. Inside the city walls, which are 6-9 meters high, are more than 100 mosques, 12 hammams (bath houses) and 6,500 residential houses. Many of the houses look like antique skyscrapers. One of the most popular destinations is Suq al-Milh (Salt Market), where it is not only possible to buy salt but also bread, spices, raisins, cotton, copper, pots, silver jewelry, antiques and a host of other things. The majestic 6th century mosque al-Jami’al-Kabir (Grand Mosque) is one of the oldest in the world. Bab el Yemen (Yemen Gate) is an iconic entrance to the city and is over 700 years old.

Sana’s old town center was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1986.


Shibam is a city with about 7,000 residents. The city was once the capital of the Hadramawt Kingdom. Shibam is famous for its distinctive architecture and was therefore named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The houses in Shibam are all made of clay bricks, and there are about 500 tower buildings that are between 5 and 9 storeys high. Shibam has existed for about 2,000 years, but most of the city’s buildings are from the 16th century. But in the centuries that followed, the city was rebuilt over and over again. Shibam is often called “the oldest skyscraper city in the world” and “Desert-Manhattan”.