Yemen, whose name in Arabic is pronounced AL-YAMAN, appears in history books under many names. The ancient geographers called it “Happy Arabia”. In the Old Testament, Yemen is referred to as The South and the Queen of Sheba, the Queen of the South, Queen Timna. The word AL-YAMAN is said to derive from the name of the ruler AYMAN IBN YA’RUB QAHTAN.
Ancient Arab legends, and even current Yemenis say that AL-YAMAN derives from the word AL-YUMN (which means blessings and prosperity). This meaning agrees with the name “Happy Arabia”.
Others say that the name AL-YAMAN derives from yumna (the right of the Kaaba…). The Arabs tend to orient themselves with respect to the right because this side is a symbol of fortune. However, some Yemenis continue to call the north “Al-SHAM” and the south “AL-YAMAN”. Today, the official name of the country is “Republic of Yemen”.
Yemen is located in the Middle East, in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, bounded by the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, western Oman and southern Saudi Arabia. Until relatively recently, its border to the north was not defined, because the Arabian desert prevents any human settlement there. It is considered one of the cradle areas of humanity.
Certain islands in the Red Sea, the Hanish Islands, the Kamaran Island and the volcanic islands of Perim and Jabal al-Tair belong to Yemen ; and in the Arabian Sea, the island of Socotra. With 527,970 km², Yemen, by extension, ranks 49th in the world (after France), its size being similar to Thailand, and somewhat larger than the state of California (USA) and Spain. Yemen is located 15 ° N 48 ° E.
The western sector of Yemen is predominantly mountainous, with altitudes that exceed 3,500 meters, while the eastern sector is basically plateaus, dominated by the desert. There are no permanent rivers and rainfall is very scarce. The temperatures, normally very high, are milder in the maritime areas and in the mountains.
The country can be geographically divided into four main regions: the western coastal plateau (Tihamah), the western mountains, the eastern mountains, and the Rub al-Jali, in the east, the largest sand desert in the world.
The Tihamah (“hot lands”) region is a very arid and flat coastal plateau. Despite the aridity, the presence of many lagoons makes it a very swampy region, with abundant malarial mosquitoes. There are also large areas of movable sand dunes, shaped like a crescent (known as “barhan”). The evaporation in Tihama is so great that the mountain currents never reach the sea, but they contribute to the existence of large reserves of groundwater, reserves that today are intensively exploited for agricultural use.
The Tihamah ends abruptly in the rugged western mountains. This region, now heavily overgrown to meet the demand for food, receives the highest rainfall in Arabia, rising rapidly from 100mm per year to 760mm in the city of Ta’izz and reaching 1,000mm in the city of Ibb. Agriculture here is very diverse, predominantly sorghum crops, but also cotton and also many fruit trees, mango being the most appreciated. Temperatures are warm during the day but drop dramatically at night. There are permanent currents in the mountains, but they never reach the sea due to the high evaporation in the Tihama.
The central mountains region is a large plateau located at an altitude of about 2,000 m. It is drier than the western mountains due to the shelter of the mountains, but it still receives enough rain in wet years to be cultivated. The variation of daytime temperatures is among the highest in the world: the normal range goes from 30 ° C in the day to 0 ° C at night. Water storage allows for irrigation and growth of wheat and barley. The capital of Yemen, Sana’a, is located in this region, at 2,350 m. Yemen’s highest point is here too, and it’s Jabal al Nabi Shu’ayb, at 3,760 meters.
The Rub al-Jali desert region in the east is much lower, generally below 1,000 m, and receives almost no rain. It is populated only by Bedouin owners of large herds of camels.
According to thesciencetutor.org, the climate in Yemen is varied and depends on the different altitudes of each region. There are no marked differences between the seasons. There are generally two seasons, summer and winter. During the summer the climate is hot with a high percentage of humidity in the coastal region. In this region the winter is moderate.
Occasionally the summer is rainy due to the action of the monsoon from the Indian Ocean. These rains reduce the high summer temperature of the coastal region. In the highlands, summer is pleasant in summer and relatively cold in winter, particularly in the evenings and early hours of the day, then the days are usually sunny.