Yemen, a sense of mystery surrounds the legendary land of the Queen of Sheba. But it is also a real country, which was known in the ancient world as Arabian Felix the "Happy Arabia" because of its wealth, or also the "Green Arabia", because of its favorable climate. Mountainous ranges, running from the north to the south brings an exceptional climate to the western region.
According to the season, it may rain east or west of the mountains. All around the mountains and villages are scattered, but one must look twice to see them as they blend completely with the landscape. Sana'a the capital of the country lies in this area, on a plateau 2300m high. An evening walk through this old city makes one feel like being in one of the 1001 Arabian nights, but the history of Sana'a is even older than that of Sabaen times.
East of the mountain range, in the sand dunes, lie historical memories of the former Kingdom of Sabaens, Maeen, Hadhramout and others.
From small agricultural settlements living off the scarce water of Wadis, they managed to grow with the advent of the caravan trade, to wealthy and powerful cities.
One can still see the proud walls of Baraquish, 14m high, or the sluices of the Mareb dam.
This dam was 600m long. It is one of the oldest dams of the world as it irrigated more than 10000 hectares of farmland on both southern and northern sluice of the dam: the so called 2 Paradises of Sheba.
500km further to the east, on the other side of the "Sand of the fourteen hills" lays another wonder, the valley of Hadhramout, cut in a dry and rocky plateau, 300m deep and 150km long.
There is water here along with palm trees and cultivated fields, and there stands Shibam, the famous "Manhattan of the desert" consisting of five hundred clay buildings, more than 30m high, all stuck together like one huge block placed there, in the middle of the valley.
South and West, Yemen also has an extensive coastline: 1350km along the Gulf of Aden and 550km along the Red Sea. Historians will have a "field-day" here too, visiting the white Indo-Arabic city of Mukalla, its feet bathing in the sea, or Aden, the ancient port of the Awsan Kinqdom from around the 6 th century B.C. And it is mentioned in the Bible as being a trading partner of Mediterranean Port of Tyre.
The name is nearly all that remains of the former glory of AlMokha on the Red Sea, which has given its name to our favorite beverage (Mocha Coffee).
And then, after so much traveling on a sandy beach between romantic palm groves and coral reefs lies a paradise of earth.
The summer, from May to September, is dry and temperate in the northern highlands. In the desert & Hadhramout it is hot to very hot.
Along the Red Sea coast and the Gulf of Aden, up to Mukalla it is very hot and humid. The Red Sea is ideal for swimming. The Gulf of Aden is fresh and mild.
Warm clothes like pullovers or heavy jackets should be worn
in the winter mornings. In the summer, light cotton wear are cool in the mountain
areas, it is best to also pack some light jumpers or jackets. Even in the winter,
sun hats are advisable.
Click here to download to an interactive profile of Bazara Travel (with authentic Yemeni music).