swords or daggers, on
sale in a Yemen market.
Yemen Travel Fast Facts
Getting there: regular flights from major world cities to San'a International Airport
What to see: San'a, Rub Al-Khali, Ta'izz, Shibam, Zabid Currencies: Yemeni rial
Official language(s): Arabic
the news for militant uprisings, kidnappings, and general unrest
in certain parts of the country, Yemen has been the subject of
travel warnings by most Western governments of late.
Until the country
returns to so a certain level of normalcy, caution is advised.
the warnings, first-time travelers to the country may at first
be alarmed to find everyone sporting daggers in their belts. However,
much to their relief, visitors quickly find that they are part
of Yemeni national dress, and largely ceremonial.
The first city most visitors will most often set down in is the Yemeni capital, the "skyscraper" city of Sana'a, notable
for its unique tower houses.
One of the oldest cities in the world, legend has it that San'a may even date back to Shem, the son of the biblical Noah, who helped found the city in Old Testament times.
Today, Yemen differs
from most Mideast countries in that its southern location in the Arabian
peninsula results in a distinct contrast between the lush green vegetation of, say,
the Rasyan region to the starkly barren desert region of Rub Al-Khali.
The capital city of San'a is one of the world's architectural gems.
Along with stunning Islamic
architecture found in the capital city, Yemen boasts the medieval city of Ta'izz, the old walled city of Shibam, as well as Zabid -- with its Great Mosque dating to the 9th century -- as important additions to the World Heritage list.
DID YOU KNOW? Yemen Travel Fun Facts
Here be dragons ....
•Socotra is often described as unlike anyplace on Earth. Counted among its alien-looking flora and fauna is the Dragon Blood tree which "bleeds" thick, red resin.
• Chewing qat leaves which acts as a mild stimulant remains a popular social pastime throughout Yemen.
• Shibam is known as "the Manhattan of the desert". It consists of 500 mud-built tower houses reaching as high as 11 storeys.
• Off the western coast of Yemen in the Red Sea lies Kamaran Island. It is a favorite of divers for its colorful coral reef and the 140 species of tropical fish that make the reef their home.
More about Yemen tourist attractions around the Web:
Tourism - The official site, touting the country's natural
beauty with information on its top attractions, hotel & restaurant
guides, helpful travel tips, maps, photo gallery, video clips.
travel guide - More insider tips & advice from Wikitravel
with overviews of where to go and areas to avoid, customs and
travel etiquette, best ways to get around.