Yemen – Facts

536.869 km²
After Saudi Arabia, Yemen is the largest country in the Arabian peninsula, more than twice the size of the UK. It lies in the south-west of the peninsula, between 12° and 20° latitude north of the equator, and between 41° and 45° longitude. It is a border country of Asia, separated from Africa by the Red Sea.

20.764.630 (2006)

Population density
39 pro qkm
The population density is very unevenly distributed, since many eastern regions (especially Mahra State) are almost deserted. 31% of the population live in towns, the rest as farmers, mostly in the western highlands. Over 50% are under 20 years old. (siehe unten)

Sana'a. Population: 1,921,590 (2006)
Economic and trade capital: Aden

Yemen is in the Middle East, bordering to the north on Saudi Arabia, to the east on Oman and to the south on the Gulf of Aden; to the west is the Red Sea, in which the Hanish Islands and the islands of Kamaran and Perim belong to Yemen, as well as Socotra in the Arabian Sea. Neighbours across the sea are Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. The landscape is varied: coastal plains, mountain ranges, high plateaus, sandy and stony deserts. From the Red Sea, the land rises over the Tihama – a coastal plain between 50 and 100 km wide – to the escarpment of the western highlands, with Yemen's highest peak, Jabal Nabi Shuayb, at 3,760 m. In the valleys there is a variety of farming, with crops such as sorghum, as well as cotton and fruit trees. The highlands are terraced for cultivation, the highest crops being coffee and qat. The central highlands, to the east of the Tihama, run north-south and are up to 200 km wide.

In the east, the mountains slope down to the Arabian desert Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter), also with varied formations. A special landmark is the Hadramaut, a sickle-shaped wadi running east-west, with fertile oases to which the country owed its prosperity.

Islamic parliamentary republic since 1991. New constitution in 2001. 301-seat House of Representatives. Head of state since 1990: Ali Abdallah Saleh.

The official language is Arabic (in the Yemeni dialect). English is taught in schools.

Islam. Small Christian and Hindu minorities. In the north are primarily Zaidi followers, while the Sunni and Shafi denominations are mostly in the south. Almost all the Yemeni Jews have emigrated and now live in Israel or America.
Many sections of the Yemeni population are part of ancient tribal structures dating back to long before the birth of the Prophet.

After the Republic of Yemen was proclaimed on 22 May 1990, the country was divided into 17 governorates; since January 2004, it is further divided into 20 governorates (plus the municipality of Sana'a): Abyan, Aden, Al Bayda, Al Dali, Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, Amran, Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Raimah, Sadah, Sana'a, Shabwah and Taiz.