Where is Yemen? In the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsular.
As close as possible to Djibouti and Ethiopia
on the African continent, with the Bab al Mandab strait in between,
dividing the Red Sea from the Indian Ocean.
What is Yemen? A desert as we know Arabia? Well, what do we really
know about this part
of the world. Honestly, I did not know much when I heard rumours
about a volcano erupting in
a remote part of Yemen in the middle of March, 2000. I visited Aden,
a former british colony
on the southern tip of Yemen back in 1956, but I do not remember
much of that any longer.
I did see a lot of stamps from Yemen and the other arab Emirates
back in the 70's and 80's,
when I was a stampdealer. But most of the stamps were issued by
a foreign agent, whos main purpose was to print lots
of popular thematics, of which most of them had absolutely no connection
with the country they were said to represent.
So again, I had to search Internet to learn a bit more about this
country. And I was surprised.
First of all, because I found much more information than expected.
And here I would like to
show you part of it - the part that has to do with the geography
It's not at all a desert. You can even find orchids there. And
forests! And huge mountains!
And volcanoes? Yes, see our volcano-pages.
The Queen of Sheba, whom once visited King Solomon of Israel, some
3.000 years ago,
came from this part of the world. The Queen, according to the Bible,
Jerusalem with a very impressive train, camels carrying balsam oil
and very much gold and
precious stones. (Book of 1st Kings, Chapter 10, verses 1-2). The
value of the gold alone is
said to be worth today about US$ 50.000.000!
This must indicate that the land from where the Queen came, must
have been a very rich country.
The Queen truly came from Marib, which is on the northern shore
of the Red Sea (?).
In modern times several ruins of old palaces from the time around
500 BC have been found.
Several mighty kingdoms were situated in the mountains of Yemen
at that time.
The old yemenites digges out terraces in the rich soil on the mountainslopes.
As far back
as in the 500 century BC they even build a very large dam, called
the Marib-dam way
up in the mountains. During the next thousand years this dam gave
water to terraces and the sorrounding land,
and the inhabitants could harvest greatly.
Everything grew up, and it is said that the mocca-coffee, which
has reputation of being the
best coffee in the world, comes from this area. So suddenly some
1500 years ago, a
large earthquake destroyed the dam, and since then nobody has rebuilt
it. That was
the end of the good times, and for centuries the people suffered.
I'm just wondering why
nobody has, since if they were so clever at that time, people ought
to be able to
build a similar dam today???
The southern part of Yemen is able to supply itself with vegetables,
and some of
the most important exports are wheat, cotton and coffee even today.
When you look at pictures from Yemen, you just have to wonder how
Take a close look to the picture on the top, and you will see several
homes built right
on top of the hills. Take a look at the next photos, and imagine
how you would like
to climb the hills when coming back home from school or work in
Talking about how people live, I came to think of a picture from
the rice-fields in
The Philippines, which I found on my hunting for the Mayon-volcano
It is called one of the wonders of the world, but when you look
at the next picture,
showing how they do it in Yemen, I dont see why not that also is
called one of the
wonders of the world:
(Photo: Majid Eshaq)
Taking a closer look, should reveal several hundres of terraces,
built on the slopes by
someone who must just have loved that kind of work... Wonder if
it is the highway
you can see coming up from the lower right corner, crossing the
upwards to the left? Must be fun riding on your bike to school in
Of course, not everyone lives on top of the hills. The capital
here is Sanaa, an old
city with many interesting ancient buildings. But here also you
have the mountains in
(City of Sana (Photo: ) - Narrow Street (Photo:
So then, what are the people like in Yemen? Different from other
People is people, whereever they come from:
(photos: Momar Aldaram)