|Preface Last Updated: 7/31/2002
The Republic of Yemen is one of the most intriguing countries in
the world. Blessed with spectacular mountain scenery and fertile
farming areas, it was named Arabia Felix (the “bless’d Araby” of
John Milton) by Roman travelers who were struck by the contrast
between Yemen and the surrounding deserts of the Arabian Peninsula.
Yemen’s history includes such personalities as the Queen of Sheba
and the group of scholars who invented algebra in the medieval
University of Zabid.
Although Yemen is rapidly modernizing, you will find much of
old‑style Arabia — from spicy suqs to grand palaces — wherever you
travel. One of the most striking features of Yemen is its
astonishing architecture, to which UNESCO has accorded the old
cities of Sanaa, Shibam, and Zabid protective status. The country is
covered in ancient skyscrapers‑eight‑story buildings made from stone
and mud‑where people live on top of their animals and the views are
spectacular. You will also see beautiful mosques, sultans’ palaces,
and villages perched on top of seemingly inaccessible mountains.
People have been settling in the area known as Yemen for more
than 3,000 years. Ancient kingdoms earned revenues by selling
scented tree resins known as myrrh and frankincense to the
Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. When, in the first century C.E., the
Greeks and Romans discovered they could travel to and from India by
boat, Yemen’s ports greatly prospered, eclipsing the towns that had
grown up along land trade routes.
By 575 the Persians were in power. Foreign intervention from
Europe began on the peninsula in 1513, when Portugal set its sights
on Aden. Egypt’s Mamluks and Turkey's Ottomans made inroads, and
Yemen finally fell to the Ottomans. After centuries of insurrection,
the Ottomans, already destroyed by WW I, left Yemen to a new king.
Yemen was determined to have its own leader in power and allied
with the newly formed state of Saudi Arabia. Over the next 30 years
Yemen remained isolated and underdeveloped — by the 1960s there were
no paved roads in the country, almost no doctors, and very low
In 1962, a group of army officers held a coup and founded the
Yemen Arab Republic.
Southern Yemenis started a revolution of their own against the
British in 1963. In 1967 the British abandoned Aden, and the
People's Republic of South Yemen was born. It declared itself a
Marxist state, changing its name in 1969 to the People's Democratic
Republic of Yemen.
Throughout the 1970s, the two Yemens had border spats. When the
Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the 1980s, the People's
Democratic Republic of Yemen gave up on the struggle, choosing to
unite with the Yemen Arab Republic.
The Unified Republic of Yemen was declared on May 22, 1990, but
power struggles between the two factions continued and led to
full‑scale civil war in 1994.
Reconciliation between north and south Yemen has been slow. The
peninsula's poorest nation slashed its international debt in half by
the end of 1999, an impressive feat, given the depressed oil prices
that have plagued the region recently. Democracy remains very much
in the cards, but has yet to be dealt.
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
The Republic of Yemen is located in the southern corner of the
Arabian Peninsula, bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, Oman to
the east, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to the south, and the
Red Sea to the west. Its total area is about 204,000 square miles,
the size of France.
Sanaa, the capital, is located at an altitude of over 7,200 feet
above sea level. Nearby is the highest mountain between East Africa
and Iran, Djebel al‑Nabi Shu’ayb, 12,300 feet. The interior
highlands have two rainy seasons a year: the first in March and
April, and a second with heavier rainfall in July and August. For
the rest of the year, sunny, clear weather is the rule, with
occasional dust storms. In winter, night temperatures in Sanaa can
drop to 30°F, with sunshine and daytime highs of 70°F. Summer
temperatures are moderate, with highs of 85°F, dropping to the low
60s at night.
To the west in the Tihama (lowlands adjoining the Red Sea) where
there is a mixture of African and Arab cultures, the weather is hot
and humid for much of the year. Even in winter, daytime highs can be
in the 90s. During the summer, torrential monsoons occur. Aden and
the southern coast are similarly hot and humid, with summer
temperatures frequently in the 100s. However, winter temperatures
are far milder and more pleasant. The Hadhramaut and the interior
desert regions extending east from Aden to the Omani border are hot
and dry. To the east of the highland interior, the terrain slopes
down to the sandy wastes of the deserts of inner Arabia, the famous
Population Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
Yemenis are proud of their culture and history and regard their
distinctive civilization as a unifying force among the many tribes
that make up the population. Yemen's population of nearly 18
million, by far the largest among the countries of the Arabian
Peninsula, is expected to double within the next 20 years. A
characteristic feature of Yemeni society is the chewing of qat
leaves at social sessions. Yemeni men, especially northern
tribesmen, prominently carry the “jambiya,” a curved knife, at the
waist as a sign of their personal dignity and independence.
Yemeni law mixes tribal customs (known as “urf”), Moslem
religious statutes (sharia), executive decree, and parliamentary
legislation. It has codified some traditional procedures, while
introducing new concepts regulating commerce, labor, nationality,
taxes, and civil rights. Outside urban areas, justice and law are
still largely administered by traditional figures such as religious
judges and tribal leaders.
In contrast to nomadic traditions of other peninsula inhabitants,
most Yemenis have long been settled in small agricultural
communities, and the population is still heavily rural. Because of
poverty and a shortage of arable land, there has been a tradition of
Yemeni men working as expatriate workers and small traders. Many
Yemenis have close family relations in Ethiopia, Somalia, and
Djibouti, and there are Yemeni‑origin communities as far‑flung as
Indonesia and the U.S. Before the Gulf War, at least 1.4 million
Yemenis worked overseas, with perhaps 1 million in Saudi Arabia
alone. One consequence of Iraqi aggression was that 800,000 to
850,000 Yemeni workers were forced to return home.
Yemenis belong to two principal Islamic religious groups: the
Zaydi community of the Shi’a sect, which predominates in the north
of the country; and the Shaf’i community of the Sunni sect in the
south and east. Yemen has the vestiges of a once‑thriving Jewish
community, believed by some scholars to be one of the world's oldest
Although Western dress is increasingly common, especially in the
cities, most Yemeni men still wear the traditional “futtah” skirt,
or full length “thobe,” and an open jacket with their jambiyas. In
the tribal areas of the north, most men also carry rifles.
Yemeni women living in urban areas usually veil completely. In
public, they generally wear black overskirts, loose‑fitting capes
and veils, or colorfully printed draperies over embroidered dresses
and loose trousers. In Taiz, women generally cover their hair with
bright gold or saffron colored scarves but do not otherwise veil.
Veiling is less common in rural areas, although many women will draw
scarves across their faces if strangers approach. Since unification,
women in Aden have begun to cover their hair more frequently than
Yemenis are, for the most part, friendly to Americans. Many have
family and tribal ties to the thousands of Yemenis who have
emigrated to the U.S. Although English is on its way to being the
second most spoken language in the country, the majority of Yemenis
still do not speak English. Therefore, being able to speak a few
phrases in Arabic will be warmly appreciated.
According to popular tradition, Shem, a son of Noah, founded the
city of Sanaa. From about 1000 BC to AD 600, Yemen was the center of
an advanced civilization based on intensive agriculture and a
lucrative trade in aromatics (such as frankincense) with
Mediterranean countries. Ruins of temples and walls, as well as of
the famous Marib Dam, whose final rupture in AD 570 (recorded in the
“Elephant” sura of the Quran) spelled the end of this civilization,
can still be seen.
The country converted to Islam about AD 628, during the prophet
Mohammed’s lifetime. Previously, it had undergone periods with both
Jewish and Christian kingdoms. Yemen provided many warriors to
Islamic armies, and its artisans worked in constructing buildings
that have given Islamic architecture its renown. Since early
medieval times, Yemen has enjoyed varying political and economic
fortunes that have been tied closely to the relative importance of
its caravan routes. The Zaydi Imamate was founded by Yahya bin
Husain bin Qasim al‑Rassi, in AD 897 and lasted until the Republican
Revolution in 1962. Other important dynasties that ruled in northern
Yemen included the Sulayhids, who produced the greatest female ruler
in Yemeni Islamic history, Queen Arwa bint Ahmed. She ruled from her
capital in Jibla between AD 1088 and 1137. A second dynasty,
important for its mosque‑building activities and for the
establishment of the famous medieval university in Zabid, was the
Rasulids, based in Taiz. Areas of the country were twice ruled by
the Ottoman Turks‑the first period lasted from 1513 to 1636, and the
second from 1849 to 1918.
After the departure of the Turks in 1918, Imam Yahya assumed
political control of the north. The succeeding Imam Ahmed kept the
country in almost complete isolation until the regime was overthrown
on September 26, 1962, by elements intent on modernizing the
country’s medieval economic, political, and social structures.
Forces loyal to the Imam’s family opposed the new republic for
several years. The Republicans were supported by Egyptian troops and
the Royalists by Saudi Arabia. Periodic heavy fighting continued for
almost 8 years between the Republican and Royalist forces and their
The Egyptians departed in November 1967, and a settlement was
mediated by Saudi Arabia and Egypt in March 1970 which guaranteed a
republican form of government in what became the Yemen Arab
Republic. Subsequent presidents of the republic established a
written constitution and parliament. The new state faced both
external and internal threats. It fought two border wars with the
Communist‑ruled People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in 1972 and
1979 and suffered from continuous Communist‑inspired insurgencies
until the mid‑1980s. Two presidents were assassinated in 1978, and
the current president of the unified Republic of Yemen took office
South Yemen was the focus of European attentions from the
beginning of the 15th century. Attracted by the superb natural
harbor of Aden, the British arrived in Aden in 1839 and quickly
established relations with the tribal rulers in the hinterlands in
order to protect their position in Aden. With the opening of the
Suez Canal in 1869, the British reinforced their position in Aden to
ensure their line of communication to India and their dominance in
the region. The British remained in Aden until 1967, when they were
forced to abandon their former crown colony as a result of a
terrorist campaign carried out by two rival nationalist groups. The
National Liberation Front proclaimed the People’s Democratic
Republic of Yemen (PDRY) under Communist aegis in 1970 and
immediately began to support an unsuccessful guerrilla war in the
Dhofar Province in neighboring Oman. In January 1986, Aden was
rocked by a bloody 10‑day coup between rival political factions.
Estimates of those killed during the coup range up to 10,000.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
Present‑day Yemen is the result of a merger of the Yemen Arab
Republic (North Yemen) and the Marxist Peoples’ Democratic Republic
of Yemen (South Yemen), the capital of which was Aden. Unification
took place in May 1990, following the decline of Soviet support for
the PDRY and the collapse of its economy. The new state, called the
Republic of Yemen, was accorded immediate recognition by most of the
world community, including the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The former
North Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh became President during
the transitional period, and the former President of South Yemen,
Ali Salim Al‑Bidh, Vice President. An interim constitution was
proclaimed in May 1990 and approved in a referendum in May 1991. The
first free multiparty parliamentary elections, with universal
suffrage, were held in April 1993, with various international groups
assisting in the set‑up of the elections and observing the voting.
The ensuing Parliament consisted of 143 members from the General
People’s Congress (GPC), 69 members from the Yemeni Socialist Party
(YSP), 63 members from the Islaah party, and a small number from
various other parties as well as independents. The speaker of
Parliament was Sheikh Abdallah Bin Husain Al-Ahmar, the head of
Islaah. After the elections, Islaah was invited to join the ruling
coalition government. Conflicts began in August 1993 with then-Vice
President Ali Salim Al‑Bidh, who retreated to Aden to a self‑imposed
exile. After intermittent clashes, a full‑scale civil war broke out
in May 1994. Most of the fighting took place in the southern parts
of the country, with some air and missile attacks against cities and
military sites in the north. Despite strong support from neighboring
countries, the south was overrun and Aden was captured on July 7,
1994. The leaders of the secession and some of the military went
into self‑exile, but many returned a short while later following a
general amnesty granted by President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Sixteen
people were excluded from the amnesty, and legal proceedings were
brought against four persons accused of misappropriating official
funds. The remaining 12 were told informally that they could take
advantage of the general amnesty, but most remain outside Yemen.
This caused considerable loss of influence for the YSP from which it
has not yet fully recovered.
In 1994, amendments to the Constitution eliminated the
Presidential Council. Later in October the Parliament elected Ali
Abdullah Saleh as President for a five‑year term. Parliamentary
elections were held in April 1997, again with the cooperation and
assistance of international observer groups. Despite a boycott by
the YSP, the elections were characterized as free and fair, and
resulted in an overwhelming mandate to the GPC. The GPC won 187
seats, with 53 seats going to Islaah, 39 seats to independents and
the remaining to smaller political parties. Having refused an offer
of participation in a coalition government, Islaah officially
declared itself an opposition party.
In June 1999, the Emerging Democracies Forum was held in Sanaa.
Sixteen countries and non-governmental organizations from different
parts of the world participated in the Forum. In September, the Arab
world’s first direct, contested presidential elections were held and
President Saleh won a second five‑year term. The first elections
under the 1999 Local Administration Act will be held in February
2001. A third round of parliamentary elections are scheduled for
Yemen continues to be challenged by the after‑effects of
unification and the Gulf War. At unification, officials and workers
of both governments were retained, resulting in a bloated government
work force estimated to be at least 250,000. The number of
ministries also nearly doubled, adding to bureaucratic confusion. An
effort to balance ministerial portfolios between northerners and
southerners created further bureaucratic problems.
The government remains publicly committed to democratic
transition based on political pluralism, economic, judicial and
administrative reform, and to reducing acute unemployment.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
In medieval Yemen, disciplines of law, religion, history, and
poetry were sophisticated and widespread among the population. Yemen
made many important contributions to Islamic civilization. A famous
example is the development of algebra at the University of Zabid in
the Tihama. Yemeni teachers taught in the Al‑Azhar University of
Cairo in the 10th and 11th centuries, and students came to Zabid
from all over Arabia, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
Yemeni isolation in recent centuries, however, led to a
development gap that has had lasting consequences.
A low level of education (literacy is about 56% for males and 28%
for females) has hampered development projects initiated by the
government, but the number of students has greatly increased in
recent years. Secondary school enrollments in 1998 reached 26.8% of
secondary school aged children, including 76.1% of males and 23.9%
of females. Unfortunately, enrollment after the age of 16 drops
considerably, most notably among females. Of the secondary
schoolteachers, about half are Yemenis and the rest expatriates,
mainly from Egypt but also from Syria, Sudan, and Iraq.
Yemen’s principal universities are in Sanaa and Aden, with newer
ones in Mukullah, Hadhramaut, Hodeidah and Taiz. Enrollment in the
University of Sanaa's arts colleges (including the Faculty of
Education, which has branches in several other locations in Yemen)
is about 75% of the total student population. In Aden University,
enrollment is about 60%. Enrollment in higher education consists of
6% of the 20‑23 age group, including 9% of males and 2% of females.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
Once noted for its export of coffee from the Port of Mocha,
Yemen’s principal export today is oil. The country also exports
small amounts of agricultural products to Saudi Arabia, but
agriculture, except for qat, has declined in importance. During the
1980s, Yemen attracted some investment in consumer industries,
mostly located in Taiz. Like many developing countries, Yemen is
experiencing rapid urbanization which has put considerable strain on
its inadequate infrastructure.
Although Yemen became a modest exporter of petroleum in 1987, the
country has the lowest per capita income (about $300) of all
non‑African Arab countries. Many Yemeni men are migrant workers in
the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, although nearly 800,000 were
expelled as a result of Yemen's position during the Gulf War. Worker
remittances in the 1970s and early 1980s fueled extraordinary growth
in the commercial, governmental, and service sectors in Yemen.
Unprecedented prosperity, despite declining agricultural production,
promoted large imports of food and consumer goods. Construction of
houses, shops, and light industries boomed.
Beginning in 1984, declining remittances, due to the worldwide
slump in oil production, slowed this trend. The unification of Yemen
in May 1990 in the aftermath of the collapse of former South Yemen's
economy, followed by the return of expelled Yemenis in late 1990,
sent shock waves throughout an already troubled economy.
Worker remittances that had declined from a high of about $1.2
billion in 1984 to $800 million in 1986 (and had grown back to about
$1 billion before August 1990) dropped to a pittance. Donor grant
aid that had also been declining throughout the 1980s (from about
$400 million a year) also fell as Yemen’s main donors halted most
aid in reaction to Yemen’s Gulf War policies. Economic growth rates
declined in the early 1990s, but have begun to rebound.
After instituting its own reform program in 1995, the government
entered into agreements with the IMF to institute a structural
adjustment program with credits up to $600 million. This program
included major financial and monetary reforms, such as unifying the
exchange rate, floating the currency, reducing the budget deficit,
and cutting government subsidies. The first phase of this program
was quite successful in stabilizing prices and the value of Yemen's
currency. The second phase focused on civil service reforms and is
ongoing. Furthermore, Yemen has received debt relief from the Paris
Club, including reduction of its substantial Soviet debt.
The discovery of oil in both North and South Yemen has been
regarded as the most significant economic development in many years.
Oil was discovered July 4, 1984, by the American‑owned Yemen Hunt
Oil Company (YHOC) in the Marib region east of Sanaa. The Soviets
also found oil about 80 miles to the south of the Marib area in the
mid‑1980s. Yemen is believed to have modest reserves by Arabian
Peninsula standards. Export pipelines were constructed from both
fields to oil terminals. In addition, a small oil refinery was built
near Marib. Further discoveries in Masila in the Hadhramaut and in
the Jannah concession, have increased Yemen's oil production to
410,000 bpd in 2000, 70% of which is exported. Yemen has 9.8
trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves associated with
the Marib and Jannah oil, and has signed an agreement with French
and American companies to extract and export liquid natural gas. The
plan to modernize the deteriorated port of Aden (once the world’s
third busiest port after New York and Liverpool), materialized with
the March 1999 opening of a container terminal, and the development
of a warehousing and industrial free zone was launched recently.
Yemen has not attracted much international interest outside the
oil sector. With a population growing at an annual rate of 3.5%, it
continues to import much of its food. Agriculture cannot be expanded
significantly due to the limited supply of water and arable land.
Yemen produces modest quantities of fruits and vegetables for export
to its neighbors. A small food‑processing industry has developed in
the last decade, mainly using imported raw materials. Although
mostly for domestic markets, some is exported, including to Europe.
Fishing holds some brighter prospects, but overfishing in the former
South Yemen has severely depleted stocks. The government's
commitment to economic liberalization and improving the climate for
investment has yielded few tangible results. Yemen passed a new
investment law in 1991, and the creation of the General Investment
Authority followed shortly thereafter. The government has attempted
to reduce its involvement and regulation in the field of private
foreign investment. Furthermore, the economic reform program has
removed some of the barriers to investment by instituting a
simplified tariff regime and elimination of import and export
licenses. However, problems remain, and foreign investors are
advised to proceed with caution. For instance, corruption and
bureaucracy continue to be a major obstacle.
Automobiles Last Updated: 8/4/2003 8:45 AM
A sturdy four‑wheel‑drive, high‑clearance vehicle is required for
travel to many regions of Yemen and is more suitable even in Sanaa
due to rough roads and seasonal flooding. The network of paved roads
that now links Yemen’s major cities is being steadily extended, but
many parts of the country are accessible only by rough and narrow
tracks with no roadside services available. Yemen’s spectacular
scenery, together with the narrow, often unmaintained tracks, makes
travel an exciting experience.
Although many people manage to drive quite well within the city
of Sanaa using a regular automobile, if they do plan to travel off
the main roads, a high‑clearance vehicle is an advantage. Since
unleaded gas is not available in Yemen, catalytic converters should
be disconnected or allowed to burn off. Maintenance, parts, and
supplies are limited for makes other than the major Japanese brands.
If a vehicle is shipped to post, a sufficient supply of filters,
belts, tires, brakes, and other key spare parts should be sent,
since it is not possible to purchase many spare parts for vehicles
built to U.S. specifications. Current Yemeni Government policy
prohibits the importation of vehicles that are more than 5 years
Third‑party‑liability insurance is available locally at
reasonable rates and is required by post policy for private and
official vehicles. Collision insurance should be purchased through a
U.S. company which provides international coverage. The Embassy will
arrange for drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration, but these
procedures take some time.
Motorcycles cannot be imported or registered. Each family may
import two duty‑free vehicles. Vehicles can be sold at the end of
the employee’s tour, after three years in country, or if the vehicle
is damaged in an accident and can no longer be driven. With these
restrictions, as well as the limited availability of vehicles here,
employees should ship cars in good mechanical condition.
New cars can be purchased in Sanaa often for less than U.S.
prices, but these cars do not have U.S. standard equipment and may
not be allowed to enter the U.S. even after making expensive
modifications. Dealers have an adequate stock of small Japanese
cars, as well as larger four‑wheel‑drive utility models. Employees
have purchased Japanese‑made vehicles locally. A new Ford dealer now
sells several U.S. Ford products, including Taurus, Tracer, and
Explorer. Jeep/Chrysler and GM also opened dealerships with
maintenance facilities in 1999.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:32 AM
Although taxi use within Sanaa, is not prohibited by post policy
and reports of crimes against taxi patrons is rare, employees are
cautioned in their use of taxis for both reasons of safety and
security. A better alternative is to take advantage of Embassy
motorpool transportation, which is available for a minimal charge.
Employees who have an essential need for use of a taxi may find that
their Yemeni friends and associates are a good source for referral
of a trustworthy taxi service or owner/
operator who speaks English. When on the street avoid being
selected by a taxi, instead apply randomness to your taxi selection.
Also be random when traveling by taxi from your home or office.
Avoid routine times and routes for travel and when possible ask the
guard to note the taxi license tag number in the event of an
incident. Communications such as an Embassy issued two-way radio or
cellular phone should be on your person. It is a good idea to use
your radio or phone to call Post 1 upon departure and arrival so
that your travel will be monitored. Women find an added level of
security and safety when covering their western style clothing and
hair while commuting with public transportation. A two-person rule
is a good idea when traveling by taxi. Fares are generally
reasonable and should be negotiated in advance. Tipping is not
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 8/4/2003 9:18 AM
Taxis between cities have a poor safety record and are not
recommended. Buses are generally considered safer, since journeys
are scheduled and drivers have no incentive to make the trip faster
than safety permits. During 2003, the bus fare from Sanaa to Taiz or
Hodeidah was about 1,000 Rials (or about $5.50) one way. To Aden,
the fare was about 1,200 Rials (or about $6.50) one way.
Yemen is now connected to Saudi Arabia by an excellent road
running from Jeddah to Hodeidah, although crossing the border can be
tedious and the trip takes several days.
The following airlines serve Sanaa Airport:
Emirates Air (daily flights to Dubai except Thursday/Sunday)
Gulf Air (2 flights a week to Abu Dhabi)
Royal Jordanian (2 flights a week to Amman)
Egypt Air (2 flights a week to Cairo)
Saudi Air (4 flights a week to Jeddah and one flight to Riyadh)
Qatar Airways (2 flights a week to Doha)
The National carrier Yemenia has three flights a week to
Frankfurt, 2 flights to London and 2 flights to Paris. In addition,
Yemenia operates flights to Middle East points such as Cairo, Amman,
Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha which can be connected with many flights
to the U.S. and Europe.
There is currently no American carrier or code share flights to
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 7/15/2003 6:44 AM
Domestic telephone service is fairly reliable. Service to
countries, such as the U.S., with international direct‑dial
facilities is excellent but expensive. A call to the U.S. costs
about twice as much as the cost of the same call initiated from the
U.S. It is more economical to have families and friends in the U.S.
do most of the calling. Employees may access the IVG line during
non‑peak hours of usage to place long‑distance calls to the U.S.
only if a personal charge card is used for the tolls. Telegrams may
be sent from the downtown office of Cable and Wireless. A written
text is necessary to ensure accuracy. The Embassy has telex,
Internet, and fax capability.
Internet Last Updated: 7/15/2003 6:46 AM
TeleYemen is the only internet service provider and service is
fairly reliable. Internet usage is billed per minute in addition to
local calls that are billed per minute. Internet connection speeds
will vary between 14.4 Kps and 50.0 Kps depending on location and
time of day.
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 8/4/2003 7:49 AM
U.S. Government direct‑hire employees assigned to Sanaa may
receive mail and packages through the State Department pouch system.
Letters, packages, and magazines should be addressed to:
6330 Sanaa Place
Dulles, VA 20189-6330
State Department regulations restrict incoming packages to
17"x18"x30" in length (no one length may exceed these measurements),
or 65 inches length and girth combined, and 40 pounds in weight.
Liquids, other than prescription medications, should not be sent, as
such packages will be stopped at the pouch center in Washington,
Pouch letter mail between Sanaa and the U.S. takes from two to
three weeks in either direction; packages, slightly longer. Delays
in receiving incoming pouches have occurred when Yemeni Government
officials object to shipments they believe contain electronic or
heavy metal objects. Do not ship radios, cameras, computer hardware,
or other electronic items by pouch. You must ship this equipment in
unaccompanied baggage or household effects (HHE), or by commercial
means. International mail is faster, but less reliable. Some
employees use international mail for routine correspondence but
prefer the pouch for important documents. The international mail
P.O. Box 22347
Sanaa, Republic of Yemen
Letter mail, as well as merchandise returned to U.S. vendors, may
be sent from Sanaa through the pouch. No other package mail may be
sent from Sanaa by pouch.
Contractors of U.S. Government agencies may be authorized to
receive first‑class letter mail only through the pouch.
Several international courier services, such as DHL, UPS, FedEx
and Aramex, operate in Yemen.
Radio and TV Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
The Sanaa TV system uses the German PAL color system of
transmission. It features a few English‑language programs, including
a nightly newscast, cartoons on Friday, and occasional features with
Arabic subtitles. Most employees now receive international
programming through satellite TV. There are several options,
although purchase of the dish, decoder and monthly fees is
expensive. Pre‑recorded, uncensored videotapes in English are
available through the Embassy Recreation Association.
Reception for short‑wave radio is generally good, including VOA
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
8/4/2003 7:33 AM
Yemen has a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. Out of 79
items, some are government owned while the majority are
"independent." Most of the so-called independent newspapers are
affiliated with and supported by political parties.
Health and Medicine Last Updated: 8/11/2003 5:04 AM
Sanaa is located at an altitude of more than 7,200 feet and is
dusty and dry. Individuals with respiratory or heart problems are
urged to contact the Medical Division before assignment.
Also, individuals with sickle cell trait should carefully
consider the altitude of this post before applying for assignment
here. If you will be traveling around Yemen, malaria prophylaxis may
be required. You should be tested for GGPD and bring a copy of the
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 8/11/2003 5:11 AM
A Regional State Department physician, who is based in Sanaa,
directs the post Health Unit. A nurse and a laboratory technician
are also employed on contract. The Health Unit is well stocked for
treatment of most acute ailments, but serious illnesses or surgeries
require medical evacuation. Individuals should obtain required
inoculations in Washington and bring immunization record with them,
as well as any chronic medication. Only small quantities of drugs
are available from the Health Unit, and the range and quality of
local medications is unpredictable. American contractors of U.S.
Government agencies, including Fulbright scholars, are permitted to
use Health Unit facilities if they bring copies of (a) current
medical clearance certified by a physician using State Department
clearance standards for Yemen and (b) evacuation and hospitalization
insurance. Contractors and Fulbright scholars should contact their
sponsoring agencies for full information on these requirements
before departing for Yemen.
Sanaa hospitals are used only in emergencies.
In general, it is strongly recommended that all routine dental
work be taken care of either before arriving at post or while on
R&R. Significant dental problems may require "dentavac" since few
local dentists can provide adequate basic care.
Community Health Last Updated: 8/11/2003 7:21 AM
Public health conditions in Sanaa and other cities remain poor.
Municipal garbage collection is irregular, and many areas suffer
from overflowing dumpsters. Given the dryness and altitude,
household pests are not a big problem, and all homes are screened
against flies. Few rats exist in Sanaa, since a thriving population
of wild cats and dogs keeps them under control. The cats and dogs
pose a threat of rabies. Please start your rabies pre-exposure
series before arriving. Jogging is only permitted on the Embassy
compound so there is no need of worrying about dogs chasing you.
Most water supplies, either from city services or private water
companies, come from deep wells but are often contaminated. A
citywide sewer system has been under construction, but it will prove
to be inadequate as the city is growing at a tremendous rate. Wells
can be contaminated quite easily by shallow cesspools. Proper
treatment of water by boiling and filtration protects against
water‑borne diseases. All Embassy housing have distillers. Bottled
water is also available locally and is quite safe to drink.
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 8/11/2003 7:49 AM
A complete medical briefing is provided upon arrival, covering
required inoculations, water treatment, and food preparation, as
well as basic common sense procedures for daily living in Yemen.
Those who follow this preventive program reduce the risk of serious
illness, although dusty days can prove inconvenient to sinus and
allergy sufferers. Plant allergies, in contrast, are not a major
problem with the sparse vegetation around Sanaa.
Commercially bottled water and carbonated soft drinks
manufactured in Yemen are safe and are widely available throughout
the country. Some local hotels and restaurants offer food that is
generally safe and sanitary. A list of recommended restaurants is
available at post. Care should be exercised with salads or uncooked
Typhoid has occurred in Yemen in recent years, as well as
tuberculosis and scattered incidents of Hepatitis A. Some cases of
malaria have been reported from exposure in the lowlands. However,
malaria is not present in Sanaa due to the altitude. Cholera has
been reported in scattered locations in Yemen.
Gastrointestinal parasites are common but can be diagnosed and
treated routinely. Firm discipline in water and food preparation
greatly reduces the likelihood of such illnesses.
Schistosomiasis or bilharzia is endemic in Yemen but can easily
be avoided by not wading or swimming in streams or fresh water
Fresh vegetables must be washed in a chlorine. Imported meats are
available, but they must be well cooked. Local meat from selected
stores is also safe after thorough cooking.
Servants should have a yearly medical examination and receive
recommended inoculations with local physicians. They should be
closely supervised to ensure sanitation and proper food preparation.
The post has active programs to maintain health and fitness,
including CPR and emergency first‑aid classes.
Qat. Qat is a leaf that many Yemenis like to chew in the
afternoon hours. It is on the official U.S. list of controlled
substances and may not be imported into the U.S. It produces a mild
amphetamine-like reaction. Much of the social activity of Yemen is
centered around the “Qat chew.” Important business agreements, as
well as community and national matters, are usually discussed and
often decided during these sessions.
Although qat does not appear to be physically addicting,
withdrawal symptoms have been known to occur after many years of
The dangers include blood pressure elevation; infectious diseases
transferred via its leaves and/or the water with which it is washed;
and ingestion of pesticides or other chemicals sprayed on the
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 8/12/2003
Most spouses and adult dependents who wish to work in Sanaa have
found employment of some sort. International companies and
Non‑Governmental Organizations (NGOs) offer a variety of jobs,
although most involve English‑language teaching or some type of
clerical or administrative work. Low salaries limit jobs on the
local economy, although the Sanaa International School has employed
several Mission spouses as teachers of elementary, junior high, and
senior high school classes. Post management places a high priority
on assisting spouses and dependents with employment under the Family
Member Appointment (FMA) program. Please write to the Management
Officer at the Embassy, listing job preferences and enclosing a
American Embassy - Sanaa
Post City Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
Sanaa, the capital of the Republic of Yemen, is a growing city of
over 1 million people located in the middle of a broad valley
between mountains that rise to 12,000 feet above sea level. Sanaa's
altitude (7,226 feet above sea level) and its position on the
Arabian Peninsula provide an almost ideal climate. Although dust can
be a problem, winters are warm, and summers, relatively cool. Except
for two rainy periods, one in spring and the other in late summer,
the air is dry.
The geology of the Sanaa Basin mixes volcanic with sedimentary
rocks, and the brown and black mountains create striking patterns in
the morning and evening light. Many are reminded of the stark beauty
of Arizona and Utah, but verdant channels of vegetation along the
valley watercourses relieve the generally barren terrain. These
watercourses, or “wadis,” permit an extraordinary system of terraced
farming along the slopes of the escarpment, which turns the hills
green during the two growing seasons of the year.
Sanaa has a unique architectural tradition, dating from medieval
times, which is preserved within the walls of the Old City. Clusters
of stained glass windows highlight the stone houses, many of them
six or seven stories high. Intricate designs traced in plaster
decorate the exterior walls, while within the house guests climb
stairs past the family quarters to a “mufraj” reception room. The
mufraj — the word comes from the Arabic root “to enjoy”— is chosen,
if possible, for its view of the city and mountains, and guests
recline on colorful cushions and carpets.
A wall still surrounds most of the Old City, and life within has
changed little over the years. Narrow streets twist through the suq,
or market area, offering a glimpse of blacksmiths working over their
forges, meat and vegetable vendors with their wares, gold and silver
merchants and moneychangers doing brisk business, donkeys plodding
beside their masters, colorful and pungent baskets of spices, and
children running everywhere. There is an atmosphere of continual
festivity, with tribesmen from mountain villages examining the wares
of the city alongside veiled housewives striking hard bargains with
Westerners visiting the suq are treated with genuine friendliness
by shopkeepers and customers alike-with little of the harassment and
pressure to buy found in other countries. The Old City is a favorite
destination of many Mission members, who enjoy bargaining for
treasures such as the elaborate silver jewelry, antique rifles,
Maria Theresa coins, which were used as legal tender in Yemen
through the time of the Imam, as well as traditional jambiyas and
In the early 1990s, land prices rose rapidly as emigrant workers
invested their savings in new houses and shops. However, market
saturation and declining real incomes as a result of economic reform
have caused prices to fall dramatically during the past few years.
Construction projects continue, but city services have lagged behind
the population increase. Electricity outages in some areas are
frequent, and voltage fluctuations can cause serious damage to
electronic equipment not protected by voltage regulators. Houses in
several districts are connected to municipal water and sewer
systems, but many houses still rely on wells or water delivered by
truck, and their own septic tanks or cesspools. The municipal system
provides water only for a limited time each week, requiring that
water be stored in rooftop tanks.
Traffic is increasingly congested, both from cars imported with
emigrant capital, as well as from construction and utility projects
that can close roads for extended periods. It is chaotic, but
usually not aggressive. Roads in Yemen are often filled with debris
and potholes, which can make for adventurous driving. Yemen ranks
high on the lists of both the number of vehicular accidents and the
number of deaths from vehicular accidents worldwide.
Stores carry a variety of consumer goods, but supplies are
inconsistent and prices high. Persistent shoppers can generally find
most items they need, and many people enjoy their frequent contacts
with local shopkeepers.
Contrary to the situation a few years ago, Sanaa’s major grocery
stores are well stocked with a wide range of foodstuffs, albeit many
are expensive by U.S. standards, and availability of any given item
is unpredictable. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are widely
available and inexpensive. All grown locally, they are fresh and
tasty. Many food products familiar to American consumers, including
snack foods, diet drinks, and other packaged foods, are not
available and should be included in the consumables shipments.
Obtaining good quality meat is difficult.
U.S.-Yemeni Relations. The U.S. first established diplomatic
relations with Yemen in 1946, but it was not until 1959 that a
resident legation was opened in Taiz. The U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID) program began soon thereafter, and
the legation was upgraded to Embassy status.
The U.S. recognized the post‑revolutionary Yemen Arab Republic on
December 19, 1962. In late 1966 the Embassy moved to Sanaa. On June
7, 1967, during the Arab-Israeli conflict, the government of
Abdullah al‑Sallal severed diplomatic relations with the U.S., and
all Americans were withdrawn.
In 1970, the Yemen Arab Republic requested resumption of
diplomatic relations, and on April 29, 1970, a U.S. Interests
Section was established in the Italian Embassy in Sanaa. On July 1,
1972, full diplomatic relations were resumed during a visit by
then-Secretary of State William P. Rogers. A new USAID program was
started in spring 1973, and the Peace Corps began several projects
the same year. A military sales agreement was signed in 1976,
followed in 1979 by the establishment of the Office of Military
In 1984, the Hunt Oil Company discovered oil in Marib. The
pipeline work began in 1986, and commercial production began in
1988. Then –Vice President Bush attended the inaugural ceremonies of
the central processing unit in 1986. Mr. Bush also laid the
cornerstone of the present Embassy compound. President Ali Abdullah
Saleh paid an official state visit to the U.S. in January 1990 and
again in April 2000.
On the PDRY’s independence in November 1967, the American
Consulate General in Aden was elevated to an Embassy. However, the
former PDRY severed its diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 1969
and contacts between the U.S. and the PDRY were exceedingly rare.
However, in 1980, after the fall of former President Abd al‑Fattah
Ismail, the PDRY began realigning its foreign policy toward the
conservative Gulf Sheikhdoms and dropped its sponsorship of Dhofar
separatists attempting to secede from Oman. In the late '80s, the
PDRY began exploring the possibility of reestablishing diplomatic
relations with the U.S.
In May 1990, the Yemen Arab Republic and the PDRY merged into the
Republic of Yemen and the Embassy in Sanaa became responsible for
the new republic. U.S.-Yemen relations took a turn for the worse due
to Yemen's position during the Gulf War. The U.S. withdrew its
Office of Military Cooperation, the Peace Corps, and slashed its
USAID program. Bilateral relations continued to be strained by the
government's political support for the regime of Saddam Hussein.
However, Peace Corps volunteers returned in mid‑summer 1991, and the
program continued to expand. Bilateral relations have been steadily
improving, and the U.S. supported Yemeni unity during the civil war
in 1994. Unfortunately, as a result of the evacuation of U.S.
nationals during the war, the Peace Corps program was again
suspended. U.S. companies are playing a growing role in Yemen's
development, and this has also contributed to the improvement of
Security Last Updated: 8/18/2003 6:29 AM
The security environment found within Yemen is focused primarily
on threats from terrorism, kidnapping and vehicular accidents. Yemen
continues to be a sought-after safehaven for various international
and domestic terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda and the
Aden-Abyan Islamic Army. The Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG),
however, with assistance from the United States, is making progress
in its ability to arrest wanted individuals, control its borders and
patrol the vast Yemeni coastline.
The approximately 1,000-year tradition of tribal kidnapping, with
the intention of gaining a concession from the ruling authority,
poses a second area of concern. In the recent past, however, due to
the combination of the death penalty being instituted for this crime
and ROYG advance payment to tribal leaders to discourage the
practice, the number of tribal kidnapping incidents has declined
Driving can be an extremely dangerous and harrowing experience.
Accidents are frequent, but fatal incidents involving official
American personnel are rare. Adoption of appropriate driving
practices does reduce the danger to personnel stationed in Yemen.
Nevertheless, with the phenomenon of Yemeni drivers motoring the
wrong way down city streets being a common daily occurrence, the
potential for accidents remains high.
The Regional Security Office is well positioned to address and
mitigate most threats faced by American personnel. Residences are
assigned Embassy guards and host government police. Local Guard
Force roving patrol vehicles roam the neighborhoods where Americans
live and work. The Embassy compound is the first facility built to
Inman standards, including 100 feet of setback and a ram-resistant
perimeter wall. ROYG has stationed a large number of security
personnel on the Embassy’s perimeter, insulating the Embassy from
potential assault. Finally, the Regional Security Office enjoys
close contact with high-level Ministry of Interior officers, making
for an effective liaison process to address all concerns held by
Embassy community members.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/12/2003 3:43 AM
The current Embassy building, one of the first built to Inman
standards for security, was opened in 1990 on 14 acres overlooking
the city. The complex has a four‑level Chancery of 65,555 square
feet, a three‑level ambassadorial residence, Marine Security Guard
quarters, and a warehouse facility. It also has a recreation
building with exercise equipment, a swimming pool, two tennis
courts, covered parking areas, and a playground.
The Chancery includes offices for the State, Defense, Commerce,
USAID, FBI, OMC, and Agriculture Departments.
The Embassy complex is self‑sufficient and is designed to stand
alone without outside support for up to several weeks.
The Public Diplomacy Office, co‑located in the Embassy Chancery,
is active in cultural, information, and English‑language teaching
programs, and sponsors a center for Yemeni studies in Sanaa funded
by a consortium of American universities.
USAID reopened its mission to Yemen in June 2003 with a
development program designed to improve the security situation in
Yemen and the lives of the Yemeni people. The program will address
basic human issues including reproductive, material and child
health; basic education and literacy; and food security and jobs in
a predominantly agricultural economy.
In 2003, the Mission numbered 5938 U.S. Government American
employees, including the Marine Security Guards.
Working hours for all Mission agencies are Saturday through
Wednesday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Community Liaison Officer will send an information kit to new
personnel when their assignments are confirmed. New employees should
notify their agency of arrival plans by cable as far in advance as
possible. All employees are met and assisted through passport and
customs control. Employees and their families must have Yemeni visas
before arrival. Airport visas cannot be arranged, except in severe
The post recommends travel to Sanaa from the U.S. via Frankfurt,
as it is the most expeditious route. Yemenia has three flights a
wekk from Frankfurt to Sanaa on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, two
flights a week out of London and two flights a week out of Paris.
However, the Yemenia schedule is not very reliable with frequent
delays and changes. Moreover, Yemenia does not have a business
class. Lufthansa plans to start operating flights to Yemen beginning
in early August 2003. They will have three flights a week from
Frankfurt on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Emirates Air has five flights a week from Dubai with connections
from Europe and the U.S. Gulf Air has two flights a week. Royal
Jordanian has two flights weekly from Amman while Egypt Air also has
two flights from Cairo to Sanaa. Qatar Airways has two flights from
Doha to Sanaa. All these airlines have connections from Europe and
the U.S. to Sanaa.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/5/2003 3:10 AM
The post makes every effort to move newly arrived families
directly into their permanent quarters. If this is not possible, a
new arrival may stay in a vacant house or apartment before permanent
quarters are available. All direct‑hire employees receive Welcome
Kits for use until their HHE shipments arrive. Kits contain dishes,
glasses, pots and pans, utensils, linens, an iron, ironing board, TV
and VCR. (The Welcome Kit must be returned as soon as the employee's
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/5/2003 3:25 AM
All staff assigned to Sanaa occupy government-leased and
furnished quarters. Housing assignments for Embassy personnel are
made by the post Housing Board, which is composed of representatives
of each agency and are based on family size and grade (pursuant to 6
FAM 720). Employees dissatisfied with assigned quarters may appeal
to the Housing Board.
The Ambassador’s residence, located inside the Embassy compound,
is a three‑level building occupying 15,696 square feet.
Other Mission staff members live either in leased houses or
apartments. For security reasons, the trend in recent years has been
toward stand‑alone houses scattered throughout the city rather than
a cluster of apartments on the Hadda apartment compound. Houses are
usually spacious with one or two stories and a large basement, set
within walled yards. Kitchens and bathrooms are Western style, with
modern fixtures. Periodic water shortages make large lawns
impractical, but enthusiastic gardeners can grow a wide variety of
flowers and vegetables. Sanaa’s climate is ideal for small vegetable
gardens and there has been considerable success in growing some
items which are not available on the local market. Make sure to
bring a supply of seeds to post.
Full-time gate guards are assigned to all houses. The Mission
pays for guard services only, and the gate guards should not be
asked to do other tasks such as gardening or car washing. Employees
are responsible for arranging for these services as personal
expenses. The Mission periodically reviews the need for residential
Some Mission employees live in the Hadda Apartment complex that
was built to modern design and construction standards. These
apartments have either two or three bedrooms, a large living/dining
room, and at least one‑and‑a‑half bathrooms. Some have small patios
or balconies. The complex is international, with residents from
other diplomatic missions, expatriate business firms, and American
contractors. There are tennis courts, playgrounds and a swimming
pool. Most Mission staff live in villas in the Hadda area.
Furnishings Last Updated: 8/5/2003 3:32 AM
Direct‑hire employees of all U.S. Government agencies are
provided with classical American furniture and appliances. Beds are
either queen or twin‑sized. Appliances include washer, dryer,
refrigerator, stove, microwave oven, freezer, dishwasher, water
distiller, and vacuum cleaner. Area carpets are provided. Curtains
for Embassy employees are ordered locally. (Windows, even within the
same room, may be of different heights and widths.) Houses and
apartments are plastered and painted white; floors are tiled or
Include such items as pictures, wall hangings, and throw rugs in
your HHE. Due to the dryness, bring at least one
vaporizer/humidifier or plan to buy a 220‑volt version here. Also,
small kitchen appliances, utensils, china, flatware, pots and pans,
glassware, an iron, and ironing board should be shipped. Although
220v versions of small appliances are commonly available here, they
can be expensive.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 8/5/2003 3:44 AM
Water in Sanaa may come from a well on the property, from the
municipal water system, or from a private water project. Water is
pumped from ground level to a holding tank on the roof and then to
the house for improved pressure. There are occasional shortages, and
if necessary, additional water is delivered by truck. Electric hot
water heaters are provided for kitchens, laundry rooms, and
bathrooms. Stoves are fueled by bottled gas, which is always
installed in an outside area.
Electricity is 220v, 50‑cycle, 3‑phase, AC. Transformers are
supplied for government‑owned appliances, and two additional ones
are provided for personal use. Each kitchen has at least one 110v
Electricity outages are common but usually of short duration. All
Embassy houses are equipped with generators. The main electrical
problem is wide current fluctuations. Voltage regulators and surge
protectors are necessary for personal appliances, such as TVs, VCRs,
stereos, and computers and should be included in your HHE shipment.
Rechargeable battery‑powered lights are useful.
Food Last Updated: 8/12/2003 3:50 AM
U.S. Government employees are authorized to ship consumables to
Sanaa. The weight allowed will be indicated in your travel orders.
The full allowance does not have to be shipped immediately; a second
shipment can be made within 1 year of your arrival at post. Many
people prefer to split their shipments, making the second order when
they have an exact idea of what is available at post. To help plan
the initial order, the Community Liaison Officer sends new employees
a recommended list of supplies.
The Embassy Recreation Association operates a small commissary,
gift shop, Uncle Sam's Coffee Shop and FedEx Shipping Center. The
following is a partial list of available foodstuffs in-country and
in the Commissary:
Frozen beef, lamb, chicken, duck, steak, beef sausages, turkey
(all are imported). Locally fresh meat is very tough.
Frozen Seafood: scallops (good fresh fish can be purchases locally).
Fresh Vegetables: Cabbage (no red), carrots, okra, potatoes,
tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, leaf lettuce, eggplant, squash
(in season), onions (red and yellow), garlic, spinach, green beans
(in season), cauliflower (in season).
Fresh Fruit: Bananas, papaya, mango, pomegranates, figs, melon,
grapes, limes, apples, oranges, grapefruit, peaches, pears, apricots
and plums. Most fruits are seasonal.
Dairy Products: Eggs, “long life” milk, butter (imported), yogurt,
whipping cream, ice cream. Fresh cheese is available as well as
Canned Goods: A fair variety of canned fruits and vegetables (all
expensive). Locally produced fruit juices are reasonable in cost,
but no sugar‑free brands are available.
Toiletries: A limited variety of toothpaste, soap, body lotion, and
shampoo is available but the choice gets better all the time.
Several new stores offer different brands of mostly European
cosmetics for women.
Paper Products: A limited, expensive selection.
Soft Drinks: A limited variety, but ample supply of brand-name soft
drinks is available.
Miscellaneous: Most spices, ketchup and mustard, pickles, tea,
coffee (beans and instant); vendors will grind the beans but the
result is usually too fine for American tastes. Flour and sugar
(coarsely ground of uneven quality).
Clothing Last Updated: 8/12/2003 3:55 AM
Dress is relatively informal in Sanaa. Most Americans wear
comfortable business attire to work. Formal wear for men is not
required; dark suits will suffice, although tuxedos may be worn to
the Marine Birthday Ball and a few diplomatic functions. Women wear
both long and medium‑length dresses at receptions and cocktail
parties. Women should also bring a “suq dress,” an oversized,
long‑sleeved garment with a high neck and hemline below the calf
and/or loose slacks with a long overblouse. Although Yemenis are
generally tolerant of Western behavior and dress, most Americans
feel more comfortable wearing conservative clothing in public.
Shorts are worn only for sports and never in public areas by either
men or women. Yemenis neither require nor expect non‑Muslim women to
wear either an “abaya” (the black full cloak) or a “hijab” (the
Because of the constant dust in Sanaa, clothing may wear out
quickly with frequent washing in hard water. Durable fabrics are
recommended. With Sanaa's moderate climate, all but the heaviest and
lightest materials will be comfortable most of the year. Sweaters
and light jackets are necessary for at least part of the day during
winter and often in the evenings in summer. As some streets in Sanaa
are unpaved, sturdy shoes with crepe or rubber soles are a
necessity. Ladies’ shoes with leather heels can quickly be ruined on
gravel, which is used instead of concrete or asphalt in many parking
areas and paths.
Several stores in Sanaa sell Western clothing. Prices are high;
selection is limited especially for larger sizes, and quality is
only fair. A good selection of imported fabrics is available.
Imported shoes are available, but, again, prices are high and
selection only fair. There are a few dependable tailors in town who
can make simple garments and copy existing ones. Most Americans
bring clothing sufficient to their needs, supplemented by catalog
orders shipped through the pouch, and purchases made while on R&R.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 8/5/2003 8:36 AM
Cosmetics and toilet articles are readily available here, but
they can be expensive especially for "designer" European brands.
Several stores have opened in recent months that carry such brands
of cosmetics and perfumes. However, any favorites, especially
American brands, should be brought to post.
High altitude and clear skies make for a harsh, bright sun. A
good supply of sun block or suntan lotion should be brought to post,
especially for young children. It is a good idea to bring a spare
pair of sunglasses. Reasonable quality, non-prescription types can
be found in town, but bring prescription sunglasses to post. Hats
are recommended for outdoor activities, especially for children.
Skin creams are important in Yemen’s dry air, and liquid soap may be
more tolerable than regular bar soap. Lip balm is also useful.
Powdered soaps, bleach, and cleaning supplies are commonly
available. Again, if you have favorites, it is better to bring them
in your consumables. Non-prescription drugs familiar to Americans
may not be available; a supply of medicines such as aspirin, cough
syrup, digestive remedies, and flu medicine should be shipped.
Prescription drugs may be available locally, but bring enough to
last 8 weeks in case they must be ordered from the U.S.
A small tool kit for minor auto, carpentry, and miscellaneous
household repair is helpful. As most walls are plaster‑covered
concrete, and only a few types of concrete fasteners are available
locally, a small selection of hangers and nails for picture hanging
is a good idea.
A growing number of shops sell Arabic and Western pop music
tapes, often for prices below those of the U.S., though quality is
not as high. In addition, the Embassy Recreation Association has a
video and DVD library Several videotape stores have opened, offering
movies in Arabic and English. Quality is low, selection is generally
limited to unsophisticated grade‑B films, and only PAL system tapes
are stocked, which cannot be played on NTSC video machines. Blank
audio and videotapes are available. New electronic equipment
(radios, stereos, TVs, VCRs, calculators, etc.) can be purchased in
several stores. Selection and prices are good and can be negotiated.
Basic Services Last Updated: 8/5/2003 8:41 AM
One hotel provides clean, fair‑to‑good quality barber and
hairdressing services at reasonable prices. Men's, women's and
childrens salons have recently opened on Hadda Street near the Hadda
compound. There are a large number of cheaper barbers, though
quality and cleanliness can be a question. With a little
experimentation several Mission members have located good
hairdressers for women, and have been pleased with the results.
Hotels and many shops offer dry cleaning services, and quality is
satisfactory, although it is probably safer to wash what can be
washed and dry‑clean only necessary items. Commercial products that
“dry clean” clothing in a dryer are useful for those occasions when
clothing is not heavily soiled but only needs to be freshened up.
Adequate car repair is available; it is best to ask experienced
people to recommend a mechanic. Parts can be difficult to find,
except for the most popular brands and models, such as Toyota and
Mitsubishi. Bring a complete set of tune‑up parts, such as spark
plugs, filters, and points. Simple repairs can be made to some
brands of TVs and radios, especially Sony. Americans have had
success in obtaining watch repairs and batteries for most brands.
Car rentals are available, but prices are high (drivers can be hired
for an extra charge). Shoe repair is primitive. Colored print film
is available at a reasonable price; slide film is less common.
Domestic Help Last Updated: 8/5/2003 8:48 AM
Salaries are affordable for servants but quality is quite
variable. A full‑time maid generally charges $400 a month. There are
an increasing number of Filipinos, Ethiopians and Indians who can be
hired on a part‑time basis, and many Mission members share maids.
Part‑time gardening help can be found at reasonable prices.
Employees planning to bring domestic servants from other countries
should contact the Management Officer well in advance of their
arrival. Work and residence permits can be obtained through the
Embassy, although permits for third country national domestic help
cost around $500 (residence visa and work permit) for the first
Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/12/2003 3:57 AM
Islam is the national religion, and Yemeni law prohibits
religious proselytizing. However, Yemen is tolerant of the private
practice of religion by foreigners. Both Catholic and
nondenominational Protestant services are held weekly at various
residences. Catholic Mass is also held weekly and on holidays at the
Sisters of Mercy home in Sanaa. There are no functioning synagogues
in Yemen, but Yemeni Jews hold orthodox religious services in their
homes north of Sanaa. There are active Catholic and Anglican
Churches and several Hindu temples in Aden.
At Post Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
The Sanaa International School (SIS) is an English‑language day
school with students representing about 30 nationalities. The
Department of State considers SIS as “adequate” through grade 6,
although many American dependents attend SIS through grade 9. During
the 2000‑2001 school year, 160 students are expected to attend. The
faculty is composed of 33 teachers (including about 8 part-time
hires and 3 Arabic teachers). Twenty‑two of these teachers were U.S.
qualified. Annual tuition and fees totaled $10,700 for kindergarten
and $13,200 for grades 1 through 12. English (reading, grammar,
composition, keyboarding, and spelling), mathematics, cultural
studies (history, geography, economics, etc.), science, art, music,
and physical education are offered as a part of the standard
A 4‑year American secondary program is offered, which includes
the basic subjects and a limited selection of electives. Various
enrichment activities are scheduled some afternoons each week.
The school year extends from early September through mid-June,
and the children attend school Saturday through Wednesday, with
Thursday and Friday off. The school hours are: 8 a.m. to noon for
kindergarten; 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for children ages 6 through 11
(but on some days students stay for various activities or special
subjects); and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for students ages 12 years and up.
Bus service costs $600 a year (2000‑2001 fee). Children should bring
a snack on shorter days and lunch on activity days. All textbooks
are loaned to the students, who are responsible for their own
pencils, erasers, and notebooks.
The school is located about 20 minutes outside Sanaa and consists
of several comfortable, spacious buildings around a center
courtyard. The 35‑acre campus has large play areas with outdoor play
equipment. The school has recently opened a City Campus, located in
the center of the city, offering classes for 3‑ and 4‑year‑old
children. The curriculum is designed for young children, the
majority of whom are English speakers. Admission of non-English
speakers is very restricted.
Another school also used by many Mission members is Sanaa British
School, which has a British‑based curriculum for children between
the ages of 4 and 11. This small school is parent‑run, but
administered by the principal under the direction of an elected
board of governors. The board consists of parents and members of the
community, all of whom serve on a voluntary basis.
There are 10 different nationalities represented at the school.
The children are placed in classes mainly, but not solely, on the
basis of age. There are three basic levels of classes: The Preschool
class, Key Stage One (ages 4‑7 years), and Key Stage Two (ages 7‑11
years). All children are required to take the British Standard
Attainment Test in the core subjects at the ages of 7 and 11. The
curriculum consists of four main areas of learning: The core
subjects‑English, mathematics, and science; technology‑information
and design, and technology; the humanities‑history, geography, and
languages; the arts‑music, art, dance, and drama, and physical
The school year runs from early September to early July, and the
school week is Saturday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Afternoon activities run from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and include many
different electives. Children staying for after‑school activities
should bring a packed lunch. Annual tuition and fees for the
2000‑2001 school year are $8,800. All students are also required to
make contributions to the Capital Fund on an annual basis of $1,200.
Fees for the nursery level ranges from $1,200 to $2,000 per year,
depending on the attendance days. For kindergarten, the tuition is
$8,400 per annum.
A third option for parents is the French School of Sanaa. The
French School is accredited in France and is based on a French
curriculum. Of course, this is used less often by Mission members
due to the French‑language requirement.
The school had an enrollment of 180 students during the 1999‑2000
school year and consisted of grades K‑8. Tuition and fees in
2000‑2001 for kindergarten and elementary students is $2,600 and
$3,200 for secondary school students. The school year runs from
early September to late June, with students attending class from 8
a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
A few English‑language preschools are available for younger
children. Fees range from $1,200 to $3,000 a year. These pre‑schools
operate in private homes and have between 10 and 30 students.
Qualifications of teachers vary, and other parents should be
consulted before choosing a preschool.
Away From Post Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
Most Western children of high school age attend school away from
post. Dependents of government employees qualify for away‑from‑post
educational allowances. There are several schools used by Mission
employees both in Europe and the U.S. No single school has been
chosen by more than one family. Parents should consult the Family
Liaison Office in the State Department or at their current post for
assistance in choosing an appropriate school.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:15 AM
SIS offers night classes in various subjects from time to time,
including computer programming. In addition, Sanaa University offers
three different English faculties with English language courese
(Faculty of English Art, Faculty of Languages, and Faculty of
Education), but admission requirements and quality have not been
tested. The Yemen America Language Institute, partially funded by
the U.S. Government, also offers daily classes in English and
special courese in the summer for children. The post's language
program provides Arabic lessons to interested employees and
dependents based on funds availability. Intensive Arabic courses are
offered through the Yemen Language Center, run by the former
Assistant Director of the Peace Corps language program. However,
tuition is expensive and the course is designed only for intensive
daily study of Arabic. There is another Arabic language school in
the Old City, but it has only recently started and little is known
about the quality of the teaching.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:18 AM
The Embassy grounds contain a 6 m x 18 m swimming pool, a wading
pool, two lighted tennis courts, a volleyball court, a workout room
with exercise equipment, and a small playground. The Embassy grounds
provide an excellent site for American community picnics. A swimming
pool and two tennis courts are also available to Hadda Apartment
residents. The Sheraton and Taj Sheba Hotels offer memberships for
use of their heated swimming pools, exercise rooms, and tennis
courts (Sheraton only).
The Sanaa Chapter of the Hash House Harriers sponsors occasional
runs through the scenic countryside. Yemeni soccer teams play weekly
throughout the season, and visiting teams bring international‑level
competition several times a year. The Embassy compound has a jogging
track and is used by many employees for jogging and walking.
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:28 AM
In early 2000, the Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs began
requiring that diplomats and their families provide the MFA with
advance notification for travel within Yemen, but outside of Sanaa.
In addition, the Embassy requires that anyone planning to travel
outside of Sanaa consult with the Regional Security Officer and the
Ambassador in advance. This will help ensure the safety of all
Embassy employees and their family members. In spite of the small
inconveniences that may result from the need to heed this in-country
travel policy, all members of the Embassy community find that
touring in Yemen is one of the great pleasures possible during a
tour of duty.
Much of Yemen's natural beauty is increasingly accessible. Paved
roads lead to the coast, to the southern areas of the country, to
the city of Sa'ada in the north, and to Marib in the eastern desert.
Four-wheel drive allows one to explore more remote areas of the
country. However, visitors should be cautious when traveling to
these areas, as hijackings of vehicles (mostly large,
four-wheel-drive Toyota Land Cruisers) are not uncommon. The warm,
coral-fringed Red Sea coast is a favorite spot for swimming,
fishing, snorkeling, especially during moderate winter months.
(There are no facilities for servicing scuba gear.) Scenic but
primitive camping sites are available in several areas along the
coast. A new hotel recently opened up on the beach at Al-Khowkha,
and seems to have good-quality rooms and service. The Aden Hotel and
the Gold Mohur Hotel in Aden are popular places to stay, as quality
and service are very good and the Embassy receives a discount.
The ancient sites of the Marib Dam and Temple of the Moon at
Marib are an easy day trip from Sanaa. The “triangle” from Sanaa,
west to Hodeidah on the coast, southeast to Taiz, and back to Sanaa,
is a popular weekend trip. It allows you to see the Tihama and the
Red Sea coast, the medieval university city of Zabid, the famous
port at Mocha, the fertile green farmlands of the southern
highlands, spectacular mountain scenery, and ancient walled cities
at Taiz, Jibla, and Ibb. Adequate hotels are available both in
Hodeidah and Taiz. Group day trips may be arranged to such sites as
“Job’s Tomb,” an excellent spot for experienced and novice rock
climbers, the extinct volcano of Hammam Damt, the fossil fields just
outside Sanaa, and several other interesting places. Since
unification in 1990, travel to Aden (formerly the capital of South
Yemen and currently the “economic and commercial capital” of united
Yemen) has become increasingly popular. There are two paved roads
from Sanaa to Aden, where visitors will find stark contrasts with
the former North Yemen; British and Soviet influences on
architecture, and cultures are readily apparent in the former South
Yemen. Visitors will find one of the world’s best natural harbors
and scenic beaches, among other things. Aden also boasts Yemen’s
finest Chinese restaurant.
One of the rare places to visit in Yemen is Wadi Hadhramaut, with
the famous walled city of Shibam, also known as “the Manhattan of
the Desert.” Seiyun and Tarim, also located in the Wadi, contain
many fascinating sites, as well as the surrounding wadis. One such
wadi is Wadi Doan, which is famous for the honey it produces and the
unique style of its houses. Mukalla, on the Arabian Sea coast, has a
new Holiday Inn and a more rustic hotel catering to divers, an
interesting museum, and beautiful nearby beaches. One of the best
hotels in Yemen is the hotel in Seiyun.
Yemen is a photographer’s paradise. The exotic scenery and
children in native dress clamoring to be photographed, provide
delightful and exciting opportunities. Women, however, should not be
photographed without their permission, nor should any site that
could be considered a military zone. When in doubt, asking a local
shopkeeper or traffic policeman for permission to photograph is both
good manners and good judgment. Yemeni authorities are sometimes
suspicious of video cameras, especially in urban areas. These
cameras should only be used for recording family or American
community events. Film is available, though in limited variety.
Local processing is adequate for prints, but slide and movie film
must be sent out of the country.
Mission employees are authorized R&R travel once in a 2‑year
assignment, and twice in a 3‑year tour. The designated R&R point is
London. Travel to the U.S. is also authorized.
Entertainment Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:43 AM
Although a few movie theaters exist, nearly all films shown are
in Arabic. The Embassy Recreation Association operates a video
library with selections in VHS format for NTSC system VCRs and
American system DVDs.
International food festivals hosted by various foreign embassies
and the Sheraton or Taj Sheba Hotels have become popular recently.
There is one women's group in Sanaa, the International Women’s
Association, which is quite active in the local community life. The
group sponsors monthly meetings as well as special events several
times a year. Sanaa also has a francophone society, Sanaa Accueil,
which meets on a monthly basis, and welcomes all French-speakers or
simply those interested in learning.
Several years ago, a group of artists, both foreign and Yemeni,
formed a cultural society called the Halaqa. They sponsor
exhibitions, concerts, art classes, and other special events, and
the organization is a testament to the active artist community in
Among Americans Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:45 AM
Approximately 500 expatriate Americans live in Yemen, the great
majority of them in Sanaa, with much smaller communities in Jibla
and Aden. Informal parties are frequent and provide excellent
opportunities for meeting people. Most social activities take place
in the home, but community picnics, and athletic events, provide
occasions throughout the year to meet the entire American community,
as well as other foreigners.
International Contacts Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:45 AM
Yemenis are accessible people, and interesting friendships are
possible, especially for Americans who speak Arabic. A few words of
Arabic, even simple greetings, will go a long way toward making
Yemeni acquaintances. An ever‑increasing number of Yemenis speak
There are a few diplomatic missions in Sanaa, as well as several
expatriate business firms whose employees participate in social
activities with Americans. Many nationalities are represented among
the Hash House Harriers running group, and an enterprising and
adventurous person will meet people from many different countries in
Sanaa. Most social activities are international in nature, and this
provides for interesting and fun events.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:47 AM
Formal diplomatic functions are rare and usually include only
senior officers. Yemeni‑hosted receptions and parties are usually
all male or female, but Yemeni men, and a few women, will attend
mixed functions at private residences. American women employees of
the Embassy are frequently included in otherwise all‑male social
functions, but American men are never included in women’s events.
Small dinner parties, luncheons, and receptions are the rule for
official entertaining. Within the official Mission, social practices
are informal. Calling cards and courtesy calls are not required
among American staff, although business cards are used by Yemenis
and within the diplomatic corps. They may be printed locally in
English and Arabic and are of acceptable quality. The Ambassador and
DCM host receptions to introduce newcomers to Mission colleagues.
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:48 AM
Yemenis are generally tolerant of foreigners, both in matters of
dress and deportment. But, as in any conservative society,
sensitivity to local customs and mores is important. Modest dress
for both men and women, courteous and discreet behavior in public
places, and respect for religious observances, such as fasting in
the month of Ramadhan, are important.
Special Information Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
Official travelers should obtain their visas through the
Department of State or through the American Embassy in countries
with Yemeni diplomatic representation. Nonofficial travelers should
contact the Yemeni Embassy nearest their residences for information
on visa requirements.
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:02 AM
Connections are usually made from Frankfurt, Paris, London,
Dubai, Amman, or Jeddah, with direct flights in or out of Sanaa
several days a week. Make and confirm reservations as far in advance
as possible. Lufthansa, the only European carrier serving Yemen,
flies only from Frankfurt, however, it operates a code share with
Taxis are available at the airport, but Embassy personnel will
meet and assist official travelers whenever advance notice is given.
Taxi fares should always be negotiated in advance.
Accompanied baggage should include sufficient clothing for at
least a month, sturdy shoes, and children’s toys. Remember that at
more than 7,200 feet, Sanaa is cool in the evenings, even in summer.
Although the accompanied baggage of diplomatic passport holders will
not normally be opened without permission, checked luggage is
x‑rayed before delivery to the customs area. If electronic equipment
such as radios or computers is detected by the x‑ray, travelers may
be asked to open their bags. If diplomatic passport holders do not
give permission to open their bags upon request, the bags may be
Therefore, holders of diplomatic passports should carry radios in
hand luggage, which will not be x‑rayed. Small personal computers
could also be carried this way. If you do not have a diplomatic
passport or if your electronic equipment will not fit in hand
luggage, ship them with your HHE and provide advance information,
including brand, serial and model number, value, and list of
components to the Management Officer. A brochure with pictures of
the equipment is helpful.
Videotapes can also cause problems if non‑diplomatic passport
holders are asked to open their luggage. To prevent customs delays,
please ship videotapes through the pouch.
Diplomatic passport holders can include videos with their
Customs officials inspect unaccompanied airfreight and HHE
shipments. As mentioned above, please provide full details on all
electronic equipment such as computers and radios. Transmitting
radios will not be allowed entry. Videos should not be shipped with
unaccompanied airfreight or HHE. They should be shipped by pouch or
included with accompanied baggage if the traveler has a diplomatic
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:21 AM
U.S. Government employees assigned to Yemen are accorded
duty‑free entry, diplomatic list personnel for the duration of their
tour, and non‑diplomats for 6 months. Almost everything is available
locally at a number of well-stocked grocery stores. However, if you
have favorite American brands, it is best to include them in your
consumable shipment. Do not include wine and liquor in shipments;
the Embassy Recreation Association is accorded a reasonable
allowance of duty‑free beer, wine, and liquor for sale to eligible
Passage Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:25 AM
Airport visas are difficult to arrange, and every effort should
be made to obtain a visa in advance. Visas may be obtained at Yemeni
missions in Washington, New York, London, Rome, Bonn, Moscow,
Beijing, Cairo, Jeddah, and other cities. However, if you want to
obtain a visa in another city, you must first contact Post and fax
the Management Officer your Yemeni visa form. Embassy Sanaa then
initiates the action through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This
should be done well in advance of your expected departure as the
process can take a long time.
During 2003, most employees were issued entry visas valid for a
year, but check to be certain your visa covers a sufficient period
to meet your travel plans. Employees permanently assigned to Yemen
will receive residence permits after their arrival, but must have a
valid entry visa. The Embassy should be notified if any visa
problems are anticipated. All temporary duty and permanent personnel
should submit their passports to Post’s Administrative Section
immediately after arrival to ensure that proper documentation is
Pets Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:26 AM
Dogs and cats require current rabies and distemper vaccinations,
as well as a general certificate of good health dated within 2 weeks
of arrival. Mission employees have generally been able to clear
their pets immediately upon their arrival. Shipment through
Lufthansa is recommended. Some birds, including African parrots, and
animals such as turtles and reptiles are not permitted entry. There
are two local vets who can manage basic immunizations and simple
ailments. Bring a supply of any special pet medications, supplies,
food, or kitty litter.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:18 AM
The Yemeni Government requires a permit prior to the importation
of all firearms. Automatic firearms are not permitted. Even with a
permit, customs procedures can be difficult and time consuming. If
firearms are included with personal effects, the entire shipment may
be delayed for months in customs. Hunting is prohibited. Foreign
Service regulations prohibit U.S. Government employees from
importing lethal weapons without the Ambassador's prior approval.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
8/4/2003 7:51 AM
As of January 1997, there is no longer an official exchange rate,
and the market rate has been unified with the official rate. The
rate has now stabilized at approximately 183 Rials to the dollar,
with limited currency fluctuations. Money can be changed at the
Embassy cashier, at banks, hotels, moneychangers, and in the suq,
all at approximately the same rate. The Embassy will cash personal
checks for dollars and Rials up to $500 a week. U.S. dollars
(post‑1990 large bills) are widely accepted for payment. Most banks
and major hotels will accept traveler's checks at a slightly reduced
rate, and you can buy these checks from major banks. Except for the
largest hotels in Sanaa and Aden, few merchants accept credit cards.
It is possible to open dollar accounts in local banks, but limited
banking hours and time‑consuming administrative procedures make it
preferable for you to maintain a U.S. checking account. Foreigners
traveling on tourist passports are not obligated to exchange
currency at the port of entry, but are forbidden to export more than
$5,000. These regulations do not apply to holders of diplomatic or
The metric system is understood within Yemen's main cities, but
several traditional measures continue in use.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 8/11/2003
The Yemeni Government imposes no sales or value‑added taxes.
However, customs duties on imported goods increase the price of
nearly every commodity. Unless duty-free import is arranged in
advance, no retroactive relief from customs duty is possible.
Similarly, there are no tax-free cards for gasoline purchase. You
can buy vehicles customs free.
Sales of personal property at end of tour must comply with Yemeni
law. Purchasers without duty‑free privileges must pay applicable
customs duties in advance. A Mission‑wide directive covers such
sales, and employees are asked to check with the Management Officer
well before selling vehicles or major appliances.
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
The following titles are provided as a general indication of the
material published on this country. The Department of State does not
endorse unofficial publications.
History, Politics, and Economics
Ahroni, Reuben. Yemenite Jewry: Origins, Culture, and Literature.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. (out of print)
Al-Suwaidi, Jamal S. The Yemeni war of 1994. The Emirates Center
for Strategic Studies and Research. 1996
Breton, Jean-Francois, et.al. Arabia Felix from the Time of the
Queen of Sheba. University of Notre Dame Press. 2000.
Burrowes, Robert D. Historical Dictionary of Yemen. The Scarecrow
Press, Inc. 1995.
Doe, D. Brian. Southern Arabia. Thames and Hudson: London, 1972.
(out of print)
Dorsky, Susan. Women of Amran: A Middle Eastern Ethnographic
Study. University of Utah: Salt Lake City, 1986.
Dresch, Paul. Tribes, Government. and History in Yemen. Clarendon
Press: New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. (out of print)
Halliday, Fred. Arabia Without Sultans. Vintage Books: New York,
1975. (out of print)
Hansen, Eric. Motoring With Mohammed. Vintage Press: New York,
Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Yemen, Travels in Dictionary Land. John
Murray (publishers) Ltd. The University Press Cambridge, 1997.
Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. The Unknown Arabia. The Overlook Press,
Marechaux, Pascal, et. al., Impressions of Yemen.
Mernissi, Fatima, The Forgotten Queens of Islam. The University
of Minnesota Press. 1997.
Rushby, Kevin. Eating the Flowers of Paradise. A Journey Through
the Drug Fields of Ethiopia and Yemen. St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Stark, Freya. A Winter in Arabia (original 1940). Century
Publishing Co. Ltd. 1983
Stark, Freya. The Coast of Incense-Autobiography 1933-1939
(original 1953). Century Publishing Co. 1985
Stark, Freya. Southern Gates of Arabia. Century Publishing Co.
Ltd. (date unknown)
Wenner, Manfred. Modern Yemen, 1918-1966. Johns Hopkins Press:
Baltimore, 1967. (out of print)
Wenner, Manfred. The Yemen Arab Republic: Development & Change in
an Ancient Land. Westview Press: Boulder, 1991. (out of print)
Chwaszcza, Joachim, ed. Insight Guides: Yemen. 1st ed. Singapore:
APA Publications (HK) Ltd., 1990.
Hamalainen, Pertti. Yemen: A Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet
Publications: Victoria, Australia, new edition.
Marechaux, Maria and Pascal. Arabian Moons: Passages in Time
Through Yemen. Concept Media Ltd: Singapore, 1987.
National Geographic magazine, April 2000, Vol. 197, No. 4, page
Travel & Leisure magazine, July 1997. "Yemen on the Frankincense
Local Holidays Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:54 AM
Government offices and most businesses are closed on Yemeni
holidays. During the two Eid holidays, many Yemenis travel to their
villages and may not return for days after the dates indicated
below. The Embassy and other U.S. Government offices are closed to
the public during all holiday periods. .S. Government offices
observe a Thursday‑Friday weekend.
Unification Day May 22
Eid Al-Fitr* At the end of the
holy month of Ramadham
Eid Al-Adha* 70 days after Eid Al-Fitr
Revolution Day September 26
*As Islamic holidays are determined by a lunar calendar, dates
differ each year, advancing about 11 days annually.