Yemen (Republic of Yemen, Al-Jumhuriya al-Yemenia) is located in the Middle East. Bordering countries are Saudi Arabia and Oman.

While South Yemen, with its capital Aden, was a British colony until 1967, North Yemen, with its capital Sanaa, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The north was capitalist-oriented and supported by the west, while the communist south received help from Moscow. In 1990, after the collapse of world communism, a unification took place - however, relations between the parts of the country remained poor. In 1994 a civil war broke out, which ended two months later with a victory for the North.
Yemen is a very traditional country where tribal affiliation is still very important. Accordingly, society is not characterized by excessive loyalty to the central government, which repeatedly leads to conflicts being resolved by force of arms. At the beginning of the millennium, a conflict with the Houthis clan broke out in the north, which has now escalated into a civil war in which a wide variety of groups are involved. The civil war is repeatedly interrupted by negotiations and armistices, only to break out again shortly afterwards.


Getting there

Entry requirements
Visas must be applied for at the responsible embassy - this requires an invitation from a Yemeni travel agency. Since the beginning of 2010 it is no longer possible to obtain visas upon arrival.

By plane
There have been no commercial flights to Sana'a since 2016. (Status: Oct 2022)

By train
There are no railway lines in Yemen.

By bus
Buses run between all major cities in the country. However, it is not always possible for tourists to use them, as on many routes the government only allows private cars to be transported.

Entry overland is actually only possible from Oman. Here it is very uncomplicated. The borders with Saudi Arabia are effectively closed to individual travelers.

By boat
Occasionally passages on dhows to Djibouti or Somaliland can be booked on site. However, there are no regular ferry connections. For passages, especially to Somaliland, one should take into account the danger of kidnappings by pirates.

Permits are required to visit many places and routes. Some routes may only be used with an armed escort, while others are strictly off-limits to foreigners. The list of routes that require approval or are closed is constantly changing. The local police issue the permits and provide information about unsafe areas.


The official language is Arabic. English and to some extent also French is understood in the hotels frequented by foreigners in Sana'a and Aden.

In the bazaar in the old town of Sanaa there is almost everything you can imagine: from groceries and household goods to weapons and the very common qat, an intoxicating drug. Before buying a curved dagger typical of the country, you should find out about the gun laws in your home country - otherwise you will soon be rid of the dagger when you return to Europe.

Yemeni cuisine is Arabic, but clearly has influences from the geographically close African cuisine.

There is a wide variety of hotels in Sanaa and Aden, from the simplest hostels to 5-star hotels.

Unfortunately, the security situation in Yemen has deteriorated significantly in recent years.
The occasional unrest in the north has escalated into a full-fledged civil war, the remnants of which have now reached the Sana'a area in the form of attacks. There is also - recently also in the cities - the danger of kidnappings by various groups. Most of the foreign victims are released after a relatively short time, but there have also been fatalities in the past. Before excursions, you should always seek local advice and heed it if possible. Some areas may not be visited at all, others only with military escort.

The German embassy in Sana'a is closed and cannot provide consular assistance. In an emergency, Germans should contact the embassy in Amman (Jordan).

behaviour rules
The afternoon in Yemen is reserved for qat chewing. Around noon, almost all Yemenis retreat to enjoy the intoxicating drug for a few hours. During this time and often even afterwards, you can do next to nothing, i. H. if you need paperwork such as permits or flight bookings, you should have them done before the lunch break if possible. Otherwise, with a lot of luck, there would still be the early evening hours - although many offices are already closed by then.



The state is named from the Arabic or Sabean word yamīn - “right, right”. The origin of the name is associated with the ancient system of orientation, in which the east was the front side, and the south was the right side: if in Mecca, at the sacred stone of the Kaaba, you face east, then Yemen will be on the right, in the south. Strabo, Pliny and other Greek and Roman authors called Yemen "Arabia felix" - "happy Arabia" (sometimes translated as "fertile Arabia").



Yemen is located in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. It is washed by the waters of the Red and Arabian Seas of the Indian Ocean.

It shares land borders with Oman (to the east) and Saudi Arabia (to the north).

The northeast of Yemen is covered with hot rocky desert, where the rain does not fall for years. In the Yemeni mountains, which separate this desert from the coastal plain, it rains heavily every winter.



Yemen is one of the oldest centers of civilization.

The oldest states known to modern people on the territory of Yemen were Kataban, Hadhramaut, Main, Sabaean and Himyarite kingdoms. In the 4th century, all of Yemen was united by the Himyarites. At the end of the same century, the Himyarite kings adopted Judaism as their state religion. At the beginning of the VI century. Yemen fell under the influence of the Aksumite kingdom, which led to its temporary Christianization. At the end of the same century, Yemen was conquered by Sasanian Iran.

628 Islamic conquest.
In the 9th-12th centuries, Yemen was ruled by rival dynasties of the Ziyadids (820-1017), Yafurids (861-994), Najahids (1021-1159), Sulaihids (1038-1098), Hamdanids (1099-1174), Mahdids (1137-1174), Zurayids (1083-1174) and Suleymanids (1138-1161, 1196 - c. 1281).
897 - the foundation of the Zaidi imamate in the north of Yemen, led by the Rassid dynasty (894-1301).
1173 Egyptian invasion.
1184-1229 - Yemen - vassal sultanate of the Egyptian Ayyubids.
1229-1454 - the unification of Yemen under the rule of the Rasulid dynasty.
1454-1517 - Yemen under the rule of the Tahirid dynasty.
1538-1635 - The first Ottoman conquest of Yemen.

In the second half of the 18th century, the Imam of Sana ruled over 30 provinces. In 1872, the Turks again occupied Yemen.

North Yemen gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1918.

On February 17, 1948, as a result of an armed coup of the al-Waziri family, King Yahya bin Mohammed Hamid-ad-Din was killed.

On September 18, 1962, after the death of King Ahmed, Prince Muhammad al-Badr was proclaimed the new king. Taking advantage of the situation, on September 26, the army units carried out a military coup, overthrew the theocratic monarchy and proclaimed the Yemeni Arab Republic. After the anti-monarchist coup in the country, an 8-year civil war began between the royalists and the republicans.

South Yemen gained independence in 1967 and had been a British protectorate since 1839. The leadership of South Yemen (NDRY) took first a Nasserist, and three years later a pro-Soviet orientation. The next two decades were spent in a bitter struggle between the two states.

In 1990, the two warring countries united to form the Republic of Yemen.

In 1994, civil war broke out again in the country. On May 21, the former leaders of the PDRY proclaimed an independent state in the South - the Democratic Republic of Yemen, but already in July, the armed uprising of the southerners was suppressed by the North Yemeni army.

In 1995, Eritrea disputed the ownership of the Hanish archipelago with Yemen, in connection with which an armed conflict broke out between the states.

It has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR on October 31, 1955).

In 2011, a revolution broke out in the country.

Since 2014, there has been an armed conflict between the Shiite group Ansar Allah and government forces.
In March 2015, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia took part in the war on the side of the Yemeni government.

Armed conflict (2014)
Since 2014, there has been a military conflict in Yemen between the Houthi rebels and the coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

As a result, this country is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe, thousands of civilians have died of starvation; Save the Children, which used a UN database, estimated that 85,000 children under the age of five died as a result of severe acute malnutrition in 2015-2018). The UN estimates that some 14 million citizens were at risk of starvation in 2018, following almost four years of carnage there.