Ancient Cultures and Intricate Architecture
of the country is Sanaa, and it was on the U.S. Embassy grounds,
in the front yard of the compound that soil for Gary Simpson’s
Common Ground 191 was collected, according to a Yemeni government
official, Ann Maire. Ann wrote to Gary Simpson in December
2006, “We’re in the Arab world and “peace”
translates as ‘salaam.’ Naturally, this is written
in Arabic script and not in Latin letters.”
occupying the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula,
is the Southernmost Middle Eastern country. Tall mountains
divide the country’s coastal stretches from a desolate
desert interior. Because of this uninhabitable interior, Yemen
is sparsely populated; its Arab people are largely rural.
is bounded on the west by the Red Sea, on the south by the
Gulf of Aden and is separated from Africa by the narrow strait
of Bab el Mandeb. To the north and northeast lies Saudi Arabia
and to the east is Oman. Yemen covers about 527,970 sq km
(about 203,850 sq mi). The capital of the country is Sanaa,
and it was on the U.S. Embassy
grounds, in the front yard of the compound that soil for Gary
Simpson’s Common Ground 191 was collected, according
to a Yemeni government official, Ann Maire. Ann wrote to Gary
Simpson in December 2006, “We’re in the Arab world
and “peace” translates as ‘salaam.’
Naturally, this is written in Arabic script and not in Latin
highlands, about 6,000 feet above sea level, rise to 3,760
m (12,336 ft), the highest peak on the Arabian Peninsula.
The highlands in the north of the country have a less forbidding
climate and greater rainfall than in the south, and support
more intensive and extensive agriculture and a larger population.
west and south, the highlands drop abruptly to a low, flat
coastal desert plain. To the east and north, the highlands
descend gradually to the interior plateau that holds the vast
Arabian Desert, the Rub‘ al Khali (Empty Quarter). The
eastern half of Yemen is mostly uninhabitable.
highlands have a generally semiarid but otherwise temperate
climate. By contrast, the coastal plain is hot and humid much
of the year; summer and winter winds often bring severe sandstorms.
Average temperatures for Yemen vary from about 27°C (80°F)
in June to about 14°C (57°F) in January.
summer, monsoon winds blow inland over the water, picking
up moisture, while the mountains force the warm air to rise,
cool, and condense. The considerable rainfall allows for intensive
cultivation, much of it on stonewalled terraces and in wadis,
streambeds that flow with water only during and after the
site of several prosperous civilizations in ancient times,
Yemen has been a poor and forgotten land for more than a thousand
history of Yemen dates back to the Minaean (1200–650
B.C.) and Sabaean (750–115 B.C.) kingdoms. Ancient Yemen
(centered around the port of Aden) engaged in the lucrative
myrrh and frankincense trade. The Romans invaded the country
in the 1st century A.D., then the Ethiopians and Persians
invaded in the 6th century. In 628, Yemen converted to Islam.
In the 10th century, it came under the control of the Rassite
dynasty of the Zaidi sect, which remained involved in North
Yemeni politics until 1962. The Ottoman Turks nominally occupied
the area from 1538 to the decline of their empire in 1918.
ruled the northern portion of Yemen until a pro-Egyptian military
coup took place in 1962. At that time, the junta proclaimed
the Yemen Arab Republic. A civil war occurred there in the
mid 60’s, when Egypt's Nasser and the USSR supported
the revolutionaries, while King Saud of Saudi Arabia and King
Hussein of Jordan supported the royalists. The
royalists were defeated in 1969.
port of Aden, strategically located at the opening of the
Red Sea, was colonized by Britain in 1839. By 1937, it was
known as the Aden Protectorate. In the 1960s, the Nationalist
Liberation Front (NLF) fought against British rule. This led
to the establishment of the People's Republic of Southern
Yemen in November 1967. In 1979, under
strong Soviet influence, the country became the only Marxist
state in the Arab world.
of Yemen was established on May 22, 1990, when pro-Western
Yemen and the Marxist Yemen Arab Republic merged to form the
new nation. The decline of Soviet economic support in the
south was an important incentive for the merger. The new President
of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was elected by the parliaments
of both countries.
war ensued in 1994. The north's superior forces quickly overwhelmed
the south, despite the south's brief declaration of succession.
The victorious north presented a reconciliation plan, providing
for a general amnesty and pledges to protect political democracy.
president's party, the General People's Congress, won an enormous
victory in the April 1997 parliamentary elections. In 1998–1999,
a militant Islamic group, the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army kidnapped
several groups of Western tourists, which ultimately led to
the deaths of several people, during a poorly orchestrated
rescue attempt. The group's leader Zein al-Abidine al-Mihdar
threatened to continue attacks on tourists and government
officials. (The goal of the militants is to
overthrow the government and turn Yemen into an Islamic state.)
12, 2000, 17 Americans died and 37 were wounded when suicide
bombers attacked the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole, while refueling
in Aden, Yemen. The U.S. had numerous clashes with Yemeni
authorities during the investigation of the terrorist act.
After the Sept. 11, terrorist attacks on the U.S.; Yemen increased
its cooperation with the U.S. and assisted in antiterrorism
2002, a French tanker, the Limburg, was the victim of a terrorist
attack off the coast of Yemen. Ten suspects of the Cole bombing
escaped from prison in April 2003; seven, including the two
suspected masterminds of the attack, were recaptured in 2004.
Fifteen militants were convicted in Aug. 2004 on a variety
of charges, including the attack on the Limburg. In September,
two key al-Qaeda operatives involved in the Cole bombing were
sentenced to death.
elections in Sept. 2006, incumbent Ali Abdullah Saleh was
reelected with 77% of the vote. In March 2007, President Saleh
appointed Ali Muhammad Mujawar as Prime Minister and asked
him to form a cabinet.
is a part of the Islamic world and reflects many of the contemporary
Islamic trends. Yet, the Yemenis are intensely proud of their
pre-Islamic heritage. The national museum in San'a' and the
archaeological museum in Aden house valuable treasures from
ancient times, demonstrating how the ancient Yemenis encountered
myriad cultures and civilizations in their considerable networks
of overland and maritime trade. There are numerous exhibits
of how Greek, Roman, Indian, Indonesian, and Chinese cultures
influenced various aspects of ancient and contemporary Yemeni
culture. Similarities have been drawnbetween marriage institutions
in India and Yemen and between religious music in Yemen and
are cultural differences between regional groups in Yemen.
The inhabitants of Hadhramaut reflect the cultural and genetic
determine of Southeast Asia with which the district has historic
commercial ties. Yemenis living in the coastal lowlands reflect
the racial and cultural determines of nearby Africa, while
cosmopolitan Aden, which Great Britain governed as part of
India from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s, has traces
of the culture of the Indian subcontinent.
characteristic of Yemeni culture is its architecture, which
dates back more than 2,000 years. In the mountainous interior,
buildings are constructed of stone blocks, four to six stories
high. Many have highly decorated windows and exteriors. In
the desert regions, the buildings are usually made of adobe,
with the various layers emphasized and often tinted.
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