Referred to by the Romans as Arabia Felix, or Happy Arabia, Yemen is a diver's paradise and home to fascinating tribes, lush fields and well preserved ancient architecture. Yemen is attracting ever increasing numbers of visitors. Read on to discover more about this Arabian wonderland.
A closer look 說古論今
Visitors to Yemen have increased by over 100 percent from 2003 to 2006. They are drawn by the unspoilt coral, a host of small islands and still evident tribal traditions.
There are three UNESCO world heritage sites listed in Yemen; the capital Sana'a, Zabid and Shibam. Shibam's five to seven story mud-brick buildings dating back to the sixteenth century have earned it the nickname of the Manhattan of the desert. The mud "skyscrapers" are contained by a fortified wall and number 500 buildings in less than half a square kilometer.
Zabid is home to the Al-Azhar University where the mathematical discipline Al Jabar — the basis for modern day Algebra — was formed. Although not listed by UNESCO, Marib, located to the east of Sana'a, was the capital of ancient Sheba, and draws visitors both for its outstanding architecture and for being the reputed home of the Queen of Sheba. Tarim, an ancient town in Eastern Yemen, has 365 mosques — one for each day of the year.
Yemen's landscape is a mixture of mostly desert landscape, breathtaking mountains, mud villages and stone houses, and vast green fields of Khat. Khat is a stimulant and local favorite. Its green leaves are chewed by local men in the afternoon giving the chewer a mild euphoric feeling.
A typical meal in Yemen is salta, a broth made of meat and vegetables served in a stone bowl with flat bread. Grilled fresh fish, hummus and ful (a blend of beans, uncooked vegetables and oil) are also very popular. (catherine Thomas, staff writer)
宰比德市內的愛資哈爾大學是數學「Al Jabar」的搖籃（「Al Jabar」是現代代數學基礎）。位於沙那東方的馬里卜雖未被聯合國教科文組織列為世界遺產地
Socotra Island is situated 500km off the coast of the Yemen mainland in the Indian Ocean. Its isolation has created separate flora and fauna from the mainland, including the Dragon Blood Tree, so named because it leaks a bright red sap, said to be the blood of dragons.
The island is 3,600km2 and the population speaks Soqotri, which is entirely separate from and not generally understood by the mainland Yemenis. The island has pristine reefs, and so far 800 different species of coral have been identified off the coast.
Yemen has named the area as a national park and is promoting eco-tourism. In recent years the island has become more accessible with the advent of flights to Socotra. Visitors enjoy activities such as camping on beaches, tracking up dry river beds and hiking in the Haghier mountains, as well as snorkeling and diving.