General Information about Yemen

The official name is The Republic of Yemen. Located in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The area is 536,869 km2. The population is 18.863 million people. (2001). The official language is Arabic. The capital is the city of Sanaa (political, population 1410 thousand people, 2001), the city of Aden (economic, population 398.4 thousand people). Public holiday – Unification Day May 22 (1990). The monetary unit is the Yemeni rial.

Member of the UN (YAR since 1947, PDRY since 1967), IMF, WHO, Arab League, etc.

Geography of Yemen

Located between 12° and 19° north latitude and 40° and 53° east longitude. In the west it is washed by the Red Sea, in the south by the Gulf of Aden (Indian Ocean). In the northern part of the Indian Ocean, the flow of surface water is associated with monsoons. In winter, the western current dominates here, most pronounced in December and January. Yemen is separated from Africa by the narrow Bab el Mandeb Strait. The length of the coastline is 1906 km. The shores in the west are poorly dissected, they do not have convenient harbors for large ships. In the south-east, table heights, close to the coast, form steep rocky shores with a number of large capes protruding into the sea.

Yemen owns several islands: Socotra in the Indian Ocean, Perim in the Bab el-Mandeb and Kamaran in the Red Sea. It borders Saudi Arabia to the north and northeast and Oman to the east.

The territory of Yemen is located mainly on a plateau. In the west of the country stretch high (2000-3000 m, the highest point – An-Nabi-Shaib, 3760 m) Yemeni mountains. The Tihama Desert lies along the coast of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. In the east there are low plateaus and stratified uplands. The eastern slopes gently merge into the desert plain of Rub al-Khali.

The bowels of the country contain reserves of oil and natural gas, gold, iron, copper, polymetallic ores, gypsum, coal, quartz, sulfur, and semi-precious stones. They are still poorly researched.

The predominant part of the territory is occupied by anhydrous sandy and stony soils.

The climate of Yemen belongs to the tropical climatic zone, but it is not the same in different parts of the country. Moderate in the mountains, very hot in the southern desert, and summer and winter winds often bring sandstorms. The average temperature in June is +21°–32°С, and the average temperature in January is +20°–25°С. The amount of precipitation varies from 40 to 1000 mm per year. In the northeast it hasn’t rained in years. In the mountains that separate the desert from the coastal plain, it rains heavily in winter.

On the territory of Yemen, there are actually no permanent watercourses and reservoirs. An insignificant permanent watercourse exists only in wadi Hajar. The bulk of the water suitable for drinking and household needs is concentrated underground.

The flora is extremely poor. The exception is the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean with tropical vegetation, among which the tree-like aloe used for the manufacture of medicinal raw materials stands out. Plateaus and uplands are deserts and semi-deserts with oases. The flora of the desert regions is represented by annual and perennial herbs, shrubs and stunted trees. Shrub vegetation (acacia, mimosa, etc.) grows on the slopes of the mountains. Mango, coconut and date palms grow in some areas.

The animal world is represented mainly by the inhabitants of the deserts. There are gazelle, wolf, hyena, wild cat, fox, kotsur, many lizards and snakes in the country. Of the largest predators, the Arabian leopard is known. Most of the animals in the hot season are nocturnal. In coastal waters there are many species of commercial fish.

Population of Yemen

Population dynamics (million people): 1959 – 4.5; 1986 – 9.3; 2001 – 18,863.

Birth rate 43.3%, mortality 9.31%, infant mortality 66.78 people. per 1000 newborns (2002 estimate). Sex and age structure of the population: 0-14 years – 47% (men 4469 thousand, women 4318 thousand); 15-64 years – 50.1% (men 4784 thousand, women 4587 thousand); 65 years and older – 2.9% (273 thousand men, 270 thousand women) (2002). According to the last census of 1994, the urban population was 3,423 thousand people, the rural population was 11,170 thousand. Retirement age: for men – 60 years, for women – 55 years. Among the population aged 15 and over, 38% are literate, incl. 53% men, 26% women (1990).

According to Countryaah, the main population of Yemen is Yemeni Arabs. The main language is Arabic (there are several dialects that are very different from each other).

The majority of the population – 63% – professes Islam (among Muslims, Sunnis make up 53%, Shiites – 46%), the rest are Jews, Christians and Hindus. A small number of Ismaelites live in the mountains.

Science and culture of Yemen

The number of students in all three levels of education in the 1996/97 academic year was 3,120,000. The number of teachers of all forms of education in the 1999/2000 academic year was 131,836 people, the share of education expenditures in the total state expenditures was 20.9% (1999). There is a university in Sanaa, and a university and an institute of music in Aden.

Yemen has a rich architectural tradition. Sana’a is one of the most beautiful Arab cities. White-stone and adobe palaces, mosques and bazaars coexist here. The buildings are decorated with oriental ornaments and patterned stone gratings. Clay skyscrapers are of interest in Sana’a and Shibam. Other attractions include the Republican Palace (former Imam’s Palace) in Sana’a, the old city surrounded by fortified walls, the famous market for gold, silver jewelry, carpets, etc. Almost every city has several mosques. There are more than 40 of them in Sana’a alone, the main of which is the Grand Mosque, one of the shrines of Zaydi Muslims. In the old part of the city of Hodeida, the Bab al-Mushrif gate and the Great Mosque have been preserved.

People of Yemen