Yemen Flag and Map

Yemen Overview

Yemen, alternatively Yemen (Arabic : اليَمَن ‎, al-Yaman ), formally the Republic of Yemen (الجُمهُورِية اليَمنيِة), is a state in the southern Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia. Yemen means the Land to the right (of Mecca ) and is the area in South Arabia that the ancient Greek and Roman geographers called Arabia felix (Happy Arabia ). Yemen has land borders in the north with Saudi Arabia and in the east with Oman and has a long coast towards the Arabian Seain the southeast and the Red Sea in the west. According to COUNTRYAAH, Yemen is a country that starts with letter Y.

Motor vehicles from Yemen carry the nationality mark YAR according to the UN Convention and the nationality designations YE and YEM respectively according to ISO 3166.


The country borders the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to the south, Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the north. On the other side of the Bab el-Mandeb, the strait between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, Djibouti and Eritrea are only a few kilometers apart. This strait is one of the busiest waterways in the world.

Within the narrow coastal strip of Tihama along the Red Sea, the terrain rises steeply to a desert plateau of about 2,500 m high, intersected by mountain ranges with peaks of nearly 4,000 m. The plateau slopes gently towards the interior of the Arabian Peninsula. In the summer, sand and dust storms occur.


The climate is very hot and humid along the coasts; temperate in the western highlands with monsoon rains; extremely hot and dry desert climate in the interior of the country. There are significant temperature differences here, especially between night and day. In the summer, the daytime temperature can go up to 40 degrees, during the winter the temperature at night can reach below freezing.


In 2014, a Shiite group known as Houthi rebels seized control of the capital Sanaa and assumed government power. President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi fled to Aden. Backed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, Hadi is the official leader of a provisional government based in Aden. The Houthis have struggled to achieve international legitimacy with most countries still recognizing Hadi as Yemen’s president.

The 1991 constitution provides that the president is elected by popular vote from at least two candidates and must be approved by at least 15 members of parliament. The Prime Minister, in turn, is appointed by the President and must be approved by two-thirds of Parliament. The presidency is seven years. The right to vote is universal for people aged 18 and over.

Homosexuality is illegal in Yemen and punishable by death.

Human Rights Watch has reported on discrimination and violence against women in Yemen, as well as the abolition of a minimum age of marriage for women of fifteen. Instead, after the abolition, the beginning of puberty (interpreted by some as low as nine years) applies as a requirement for women to be able to enter into marriage.


Yemen is a genuine Arab state in terms of both 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 immigrants. South Asians occur mainly in the southern parts of Yemen. Islam is the largest religion and the majority of the people are Muslims and of these a good third are Zaydis, a branch of Shia Islam, and the rest are Sunni Muslims. Arabic is the official language but English is widely spoken. The society is strongly patriarchal with polygamy and a high infant mortality rate.

After unification in 1990, the country has been significantly modernized, but old tribal customs and practices can still be seen in the street scene. The Yemenis wear traditional costumes and chew the narcotic kat plant in the afternoons.Chewing kat is also part of Yemeni business culture to promote decision-making, but foreigners are not expected to participate.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Yemen:

  • The old town of Shibam
  • Old city of Sanaa
  • The historic town of Zabid

Yemen Flag and Map