Yemen Culture

Yemen Culture


The old part of Sana’a is a World Heritage Site with an architectural style that is typical of Yemen such as tower-style houses with multiple floors. Within this part of the city, there is the market or souk al-Milh, which is recognized by many as the best of the Peninsula in which it is located.

This part of the city has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years, so there are real architectural gems there. In addition to the multi-storey houses there are more than a hundred mosques, twelve baths and 6,500 houses, which are decorated with elaborate friezes and window frames that have quite intricate carvings, filled with stained glass.

Cultural and natural assets

Shibam Old Walled City

Cultural asset registered in 1982, located in the Hadramaut Governorate. This 16th century walled city is one of the oldest and best examples of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction. Its impressive tower-shaped buildings, which seem to spring from the cliffs on which they have been built, have earned it the nickname “Manhattan of the desert.”

Sana’a old city

Cultural asset registered in 1986, located in the Government of Sana’a. Built in a valley located 2,200 meters above sea level, the city of Sana’a has more than 2,500 years of history. In the 7th and 8th centuries it was an important center for the spread of the Islamic religion. The legacy of its splendid political and religious past is attested by its 103 mosques, 14 public bathhouses (hammam) and 6,000 houses built before the 11th century. The multi-story tower houses, built with rammed earth, contribute to enhance the beauty of the site.

Historic town of Zabid

Cultural asset registered in 1993, in danger since 2000, located in Al Hudaydah Governorate. The military and domestic architecture of this city, as well as its urban layout, give it an exceptional archaeological and historical value. Zabid was not only the capital of Yemen between the 13th and 15th centuries, but it also had great importance in the Arab and Muslim world for several centuries due to its reputed Islamic university.

Socotra Archipelago

Natural asset registered in 2008, located in the Government of ‘Adan. Located in the northwest of the Indian Ocean, near the Gulf of Aden, this archipelago made up of four islands and two rocky islets is 250 km off the African coast and seems to extend the so-called “Horn of Africa ”. The site is exceptional due to the great richness and diversity of its flora and fauna, as well as their high level of endemism. Indeed, 37% of its 825 species of plants, 90% of reptiles and 95% of land snails do not occur anywhere else in the world.

According to Youremailverifier, the archipelago is also home to important populations of land and sea birds of global importance. Of the 192 existing varieties of birds, 44 breed on the islands and 85 are regular migratory species. Some of them are in danger of extinction. The marine biodiversity of the site is also considerable, with 253 species of reef-building corals, 730 species of coastal fish and 300 varieties of lobsters, crabs and shrimp.


There are many traditional Yemeni handicraft industries, with varied branches and professions that last for generations. They notice the beauty and charm especially when observing the quality of the arts in areas such as architecture, jewelry, traditional weapons, textiles, stone and clay pottery, leather and products made with palm leaves.

Judeo-Yemenite dance

Yemeni Judaism is not just an ethnic group, it is a phenomenon. Its rich culture was preserved over time and continues to this day in all its manifestations, one of which is dance.

Yemeni dance is unique in its style and impresses with its beauty and delicacy. It is a functional dance, since it is danced in family or religious events, as an integral part of them and not as entertainment. It is a chamber dance, which is danced in closed places, by a small number of dancers and accompanied by songs. The song was taken from the “diwan”, a collection of poems written mostly by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi, the greatest of the Judeo-Yemeni poets. The Judeo-Yemenite community is not a compact mass, since it is made up of Jews who lived in different regions of Yemen and each region has different customs, dances and songs that identify it.


The Yemeni film industry is in its early stages and as of 2008 only two Yemeni films have been created. In 2005 A New Day in Old Sanaa, which tells the story of a young man who is torn between marrying by tradition or continuing with the woman he loves.

In August 2008 Yemen’s Interior Minister Mutahar al-Masri supported the launch of a new film to educate the public about the consequences of Islamic extremism. The losing bet was produced by Fadl al-Olfi. The plot follows two Yemenis who return to their country after years living abroad, sent by an al Qaeda chief to recruit new members and carry out terrorist operations in Yemen.

Yemen Culture

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