YEMEN FACTS       PLACES TO VISIT        HOTEL GUIDE          TRAVEL HINTS         DIVING TOURS           EMBASSIES             

AL ZAHRA TOURS

  Socatra Expedition :                  The fame and historic important of Socotra dates back to the begining of holy . .  

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 Language Travel :                           An Arabic language course  in Sana'a, the "Pearl of  Arabia " !

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 Trekking Travels: 8,11,15 Days trekking program : Yemen Mountains .  . .

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 Cultural and adventure tours : mini tour, intense, scenic Yemen , compact programs . . .

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Alzahra.Tourism, Agency (ATA)
Sanaa Republic of Yemen
P.O.Box: 23132
Tel.: 00967 1 24 40 40
Fax : 009671 240393
E-Mail: alzahra.tours@y.net.ye
E-Mail: alzahra.tours@gmx.de
Internet : www.alzahra.de
Internet : www.al-bab.com/alzahra

TRAVEL HINTS

LOCATION

The Republic of Yemen is located on the southwest corner of  the Arabian Peninsula, between latitudes 12-20 north of the  equator, and longitudes 41-54 east of Greenwich. The country is bordered by Saudi Arabia in the north, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden in the south, Oman in the east. The strait of  Bab-al-Mandab, situated in the southwest corner of the Arabian  Peninsula, is divided into two parts by the Yemeni Island of Mayoon (Perim). The strait of Bab-Al-Mandab controls the  strategic entrance to the

Red Sea. In December 1992 Oman and Yemen ratified a treaty to settle their Borderlines, and in Juli 2000 Yemen and Saudi  Arabia ratified a treaty to settle their borderlines.

Area

The total area is approximately 555,000 km2, excluding the Al-Rubu' Al-Khali desert.

Climate

Since Yemen is endowed with a varied topography, the climate, in general, also varies, although there are no major seasonal differences. We can say there are two long seasons:  summer and winter. During summer, the temperature and humidity are high in the coastal areas, while the climate is moderate during winter. From time to time the rainfall, due to the  monsoon, moderates the temperature over the coastal areas in  summer. In the mountain areas, the weather is moderate in summer and cold in winter during the night and in the early  morning, but the bright sun rays raise the temperature during the day making the weather very moderate in these parts of the country

- Highland Max - 30oc - Min -10oc        

- Lowlands Max - 50oc - Min - 25oc.

Population

According to population projection in 1998, the resident population is 17,017,000 distributed among 19 Governorates, in addition to the capital, Sana'a. The overall population density for the republic is 31 persons per square kilometer.

Administration divisions

The Administrative units of the Republic of Yemen consist  of 19 Governates (provinces) and the capital secretariat, the city of Sana'a.

No. of Mudiryah (Districts): 284

No. of UzlahLMarkez (sub Districts): 2,082

No. of Villages: 37,598

No. of Mahalla (Hamlets): 68,215. 

Physical divisions

Due to its topographical structure, the Republic of Yemen  is divided into five regions:

1- Mountain region with heights ranging between 1000-3660 m  high 2-The Highland region 3- The Coastal area 4-The Empty  Quarter 5-The Yemeni Islands. 

Language

Arabic is the official language, with English as the second  language.

Religion

Muslim (including Sha'fi, Sunni, and Zaydi Shiite) 99%,  Jewish, Christian, Hindu 1%.

Time zone

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 3 hrs.

Currency

The country's currency is the Yemeni Riyal (YR). Bank notes  of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 are in circulation and have English and Arabic numbers.

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks, hotels and money changers.

The rate of exchange varies. Credit cards: Major credit  cards are accepted in international hotels and a limited  number of retailers. Shopping requires cash. 

Electricity

The voltage in Yemen is 220v, 50-60 Hz. Five star hotels provide both options i.e. 110v or 220v.

Health and welfare

Any vaccinations are not prescribed, but precautions against some tropical diseases such as malaria or hepatitis  are recommended. You should drink mineral water (no tap  water).

Health care in Yemen is notoriously underdeveloped.  Polluted drinking water, inadequate vaccination, and a shortage of medical personnel and facilities have contributed  to the quick spread of numerous diseases. These conditions have also given Yemen a high infant mortality rate and a much  lower rate of life expectancy than in other countries of the Arabian Peninsula. Over the past two decades, Yemeni leaders have made greater efforts to provide social welfare for the  nation’s inhabitants. With the help of foreign aid, new training and treatment facilities have been set up, and new  health-care programs are implemented in some rural areas.

Air access to  Sana'a

Following airlines fly to Yemen: - -Yemenia from Frankfurt,  London, Paris, Rome, Madrid

- Lufthansa from Frankfurt

- Emirates from Dubai

- Royal Jordanian from Amman

- Egypt Air from Cairo 

- Gulf Air from Bahrain & Abu Dhabi 

Airports

Sana'a International: 15 km from city centre. Flight information Tel. No. : 250 812

-International & domestic airports in Taiz (Al-Ganad), Aden, Al-Mukalla (Al-Rayan),  Al-Hodeidah.                                        .

-Airport taxes are included in all rates (subject to change). 

Visas

The visitor can get entry visa to the Republic of Yemen  from the Yemeni Embassy or Consulate in his country and  payment of a minimal Consular fee. Prospective visitors from countries with which Yemen has no diplomatic or consular representation, an extendible 96 hour transit visa from the port of entry can be obtained. Upon arrival, the visitor is  given one month residence permit. There is no need to register at police stations or to apply for an exit visa during the  scheduled one month period. All travelers have to pay an airport departure tax. This applies to Yemen nationals and visitors alike.

Official holidays

•1 January (New Year) •1 May (Labour Day) •22 May (Unity Day) •26 September (National Day) •14 October (National Day)  •30 November (National Day), Weekend: Friday.  

Moveable public  holidays

Islamic New Year: 15 March, 2002

Business hours

• Government hours are 8:00 to 15:00, five days a week,  excluding Thursday and Friday, the weekly holiday.

• The Private Sector works two shifts: 8:00 to 13:00, and  16:00 to 19:00.         

• Banks: Sat. to Thu. 08 to 13 

• Shops: Everyday, all day until late.

Clothing

You should avoid clothing with short sleeves or sleeveless.  It is recommended to cover the upper arms and legs (especially women). It is advised to have some headware to protect against sunshine and dust as well as for visiting mosques. In the winter months, during night and in the early morning the  temperatures in the mountain areas are relatively cold. Therefore, a pullover or a jacket should be included in your baggage. 

Photography

Yemen is an interesting, beautiful and extremely picturesque country. Therefore it is recommended that you bring enough films - especially slide films – with you. It is  only possible to buy films (slide films only in Sana’a) in the  big cities. You should never take photos of women without their consent. In military areas photographing is not allowed. Don’t forget to bring plenty of films with you, not every film is available in Yemen. 

Relief in  Yemen

The visitor to Yemen notices easily as he tours around, the  various landscapes which Yemen offers, and this ranges from  mountainous areas with sky high villages to coastal areas with crystal clear water. We should not forget here the most interesting region, which the tourist favor more than any  other part i.e. The desert and the endless sand dunes.

Alcohol

Yemen is an Islamic country and alcohol is prohibited. Tourists should avoid drinking alcohol in public places, (Sana’a - Sheraton Hotel, Aden - Mövenpick Hotel, Taiz - Marib  Hotel, Hodeidah - Ausan Hotel, Ambassador Hotel and Bristol  Hotel). 

Traditional industries and handicrafts

There are many traditional industries and handicrafts in Yemen which have been handed down from generation to  generation. Such industries and handicrafts are characterized  by their beauty and attractiveness, particularly those  associated with architecture, ornaments and decoration, traditional weapons, clothes and garments, earthenware and stoneware, leather products, and tools and materials made of  palm fibre and leaves, etc. Handicrafts centers exist  throughout the Republic and these products can be seen in the traditional markets of many cities and at the weekly markets called Souks. 

Traditional dress

Yemeni tribesmen are known by the jambiyya, or curved  dagger, carried in a scabbard on a wide belt at the frontside of the body. Men often wear one of several types of skirts rather than pants, and a straw hat or headcloth. The clothing of Yemeni women includes colorful robes, shawls, and veils and  varies greatly from region to region in style and pattern.

Family

Housing in Yemen varies from region to region. In the  Tihamah, near the Red Sea, people live in circular reed  dwellings. Residents of the highlands, many of whom are farmers, sometimes live in stone or mud-brick houses with a few floors, often intricately decorated with alabaster or  stained glass. City dwellers also reside in houses of this  type, or in modern-style houses or appartments.

Social life

Women in Yemen tend to live secluded from men who don´t  belong to the family, although this has now changed a little under the more relaxed conditions in the countryside and  former South Yemen generally. The most distinctive and  important Yemeni social institution is the "qat session," a relaxed but ritualized afternoon gathering at which men and  women socialize separately and chew the mildly narcotic leaves of the privet-like qat, or khat, plant. Most men and many women "chew qat" at least twice a week.

Diet and eating

The Yemeni diet includes rice, bread, vegetables, fish, and  lamb. A spicy green stew called salta is one of Yemen’s most popular dishes.

Exports

Crude oil, cotton, hides, fish, rice, coffee, raw  materials, livestock. Major trade partners for exports: United States, Italy, United Kingdom, Cuba, Saudi Arabia.

Imports

Textiles, manufactured consumer goods, petroleum products, sugar, grain, flour, other food and livestock, machinery,  transport equipment.

Major trade partners for imports: Saudi Arabia, France,  United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia.

Industries

Crude-oil production and petroleum refining; building  materials, food and beverage processing, tobacco, chemicals  natural resources.

Petroleum, natural gas, salt, marble; small deposits of  copper, gold, lead, zinc, molybdenum; fish, fertile soil in  west.

Agriculture

Accounts for 21 percent of the GDP (1991); products  sorghum, wheat, maize, potatoes, tomatoes, watermelons,  grapes, pulses, tobacco, coffee, cotton; livestock dairy  products, poultry, meat, eggs, wool, hides; not self-sufficient in grain.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the 9th lunar month during which Muslims fast all along daylight hours. Non Muslims are asked to respect  those fasting by refraining from eating, drinking and smoking in public places. Office and shop hours change during this month. Opening hours are prolonged in the evening. Ramadan is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. There are as many  meanings of Ramadan as there are Muslims.

The daily period of fasting starts at the breaking of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun. In between -- that is, during the daylight hours -- Muslims  (Submitters)  totally abstain from food, drink, smoking, and sex.

The usual practice is to have a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before dawn and a post-fast meal (iftar) after sunset.

Ramadan nights' celebrations are old traditional practice  during this month of fasting. It is a tradition we inherited through a period of approximately 1400 years from our first  Muslim ancestors, generation after generation. Even the visitor will get the impression of the Arabian Nights because  the nightlife in the urban places will go on until sunrise.  Visitors are recommended not to drink, to eat and to smoke in the public. But the hotels and the local restaurants and guest  houses will provide all services unlimited for the traveler's need.

Start and last day of  Ramadan for the year 2006/2007/ 2008

1 Ramadan 24 September to 23 Oktober 2006.

  Eid Al Fitr 24 Oktober 2006.

1 Ramadan 13 September to 12 Oktober 2007.

Eid Al Fitr 13 Oktober 2007

1 Ramadan 02 September to 01 Oktober 2008.

Eid Al Fitr 02 Oktober 2008.