10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Yemen

Yemen is a country rich in both history and culture. Even though it’s going through a tough time, we can’t forget its place in the Middle East.

That’s what we aim to do by highlighting a few things about the country that will make you go “wow!?!”

1. Tasty Mocha 

While everybody knows and loves Mocha today, the name of the chocolaty coffee drink is actually derived from a city called Mokha in Yemen.

The city was bustling with trade, especially with coffee, as it had a monopoly on the beans in the region for centuries. As the drink’s popularity grew, a variation of it was named in honor of the city.


2. Happy Yemen

During the heyday of the Roman Empire, geographers called the southern part of the Arabian peninsula, which is now Yemen, “Arabia Felix,” which means “Happy/Fertile Arabia.”

The Romans at the time divided the peninsula into three different sections. The other two sections were “Arabia Deserta,” which is now Saudi Arabia, and there’s what’s now Sinai and Jordan, called “Arabia Petraea.”

3. Busy Busy Busy

Some people believe that Yemen’s Aden is one of the oldest locations on earth, and If the legends are to be believed, Cain and Abel are buried somewhere in it.

The city and its port changed hands a lot during the middle ages, thanks to its strategic location. That said, it was the British who put it to good use during their hold over the city between 1839 and 1967.

During the 1960s, the port of Aden was, at one point, the third busiest port in the world after New York and Liverpool.

4. Unlike Anywhere Else

Yemen’s island Socotra has an extremely harsh climate, and due to that environment, a unique ecosystem has formed.

The island’s incredibly harsh weather and lack of water gave life to some plants that can’t be found anywhere else.

A third of the plants found on the island are unique only to it including the famous Dragon Blood tree.

Legend says that two brothers fought on the island and when one of them bled during the battle, a tree was formed. But the tree’s name actually comes from the blood-red sap that releases from it. 

This special ecosystem became a place of Outstanding Universal Value by UNESCO in 2008.

5. 2,500 Years & Beyond

Many historians consider Sanaa one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world! According to legend, Shem, one of prophet Noah’s sons, founded the city. 

The exact date of when its people established the city remains a mystery. However, we know that people continue to inhabit the city for over 2,500 years.

6. Kingless

Yemen is the only country in the Arabian Peninsula that’s a republic and doesn’t have a ruling monarch.

The country is surrounded by Emirates, kingdoms, and sultanates, however, it was able to change it all during the final decade of the 20th century.

The Yemeni republic was established in May 1990 after the unification of both North and South Yemen.

7. A Rocky Situation

There’s a whole palace named the “Dar Al-Hajar,” aka “Stone House,” built on a singular huge rock.

The structure was intended to house a spiritual leader named, Yehya Muhammad Hammiddin. Unfortunately, he was assassinated, but the palace was turned into a museum.

8. Ancient High Rise Buildings

Yemen has some of the oldest highrise buildings in the world in the city of Shibam. The buildings earned it the title “Manhattan of the Desert.”

Looking at these buildings, you’ll be stunned to find out that builders created the incredible structures in the 16-century. 

The buildings had multiple levels, with the lower ones used to store grain, the others as living quarters and social areas.

9. The Best of the Best

Long ago, Yemen for a long time was known for having the best silversmiths in the region.

Unfortunately, that all changed in the 1950s as most, if not all, of them, left the country permanently.

10. He’s Going to Yemen!

During “Friends’” fourth season, Chandler Bing was losing hope of avoiding Janice, so he came up with the crazy plan of traveling to Yemen.

Unfortunately for him, Janice won’t leave until she makes sure he gets on the plane.

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