Ancient Land of Milk and Honey


The land of Yemen is one of the most ancient centers of civilization in our world. Until recent years, Yemen has remained largely isolated in a distant corner, forgotten to many. But today, Yemen is slowly beginning to share its rich cultural heritage with the rest of the modern world. Yemen is in the Middle East, in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. A visit to this traditional Islamic country, inhabited by a people whom the Prophet once described as ‘the most gentle-hearted of men’, is an experience not quickly forgotten. Old-school Arabian hospitality, especially toward foreign visitors, almost always prevails in this most exotic land.

Yemen is a refreshing contrast to the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, which is mostly barren, hot, and very dry. In contrast, Yemen is almost a lush green paradise, with cool mountain air, enormous trees, coral reefs and a number of exotic Red Sea islands. Yemen is comparable in size to Thailand. Arabic is the official language spoken in Yemen, although English is increasingly understood by citizens in major cities.

A visit to Yemen should include the ancient and historic cities, where rich building traditions and architecture are showcased. Most famous are the extraordinary buildings that constitute the heart of many Yemeni cities, dating back hundreds of years. The walled city of Shibam has a skyline of tall mud-brick houses, earning it the nickname ‘the Manhattan of the Desert.’ Not far away, the ancient town of Tarim has 365 mosques, one for every day of the year.

Sayun is a dusty town with a slow pace and and abundance of friendly people, as well as the luxurious Al Hawta Palace Hotel, a former Yemeni palace. Sayun boasts a picturesque setting of adobe brick houses against a background of hills and palm trees. A visit to the palace/museum in Sayun is highly recommended.

Tourists discovering the richness of Yemen might plan a visit to archaeological treasure that is Marib. There is much to see in this ancient city, including discovering the old city, the rare temples, and the remains of the 3000-year-old dam.

Yemen’s capital city, Sana’a, is one of the world’s great urban centers, and its exotic abundance make it the most romantic Islamic city a visitor could hope to find. One of the oldest urban settlements of mankind, Sana’a is said to have been founded by Sham, the son of Noah. The Great Mosque in Sana’a is one of the oldest mosques of all Islam.

In ancient days gone by, wise men harvested frankincense and myrrh from its mountainsides, and the sons of Noah recognized Yemen as the land of milk and honey. Today’s travelers to Yemen are the fortunate ones, indeed!

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