Travel Alert: The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends against all travel to Yemen, please check with your relevant national government.
Yemen. In days past, the sons of Noah knew it as the land of milk and honey, Gilgamesh came here to search for the secret of eternal life, wise men gathered frankincense and myrrh from its mountains and, most famously, a woman known simply as Sheba called it home.
Yet since the book of mythology was closed, Yemen has remained largely locked away in a forgotten corner, oblivious to the world that was oblivious to it.
Sitting at the crossroads of two continents, this country has a little of everything. Its capital, San'a, is not only incredibly romantic and intriguing, but holds the distinction of being the world's oldest city. Meanwhile, the extraordinary island of Suqutra (off the coast of Eastern Yemen) is reputed to hold the secret of eternal life somewhere amongst its unique flora and fauna. The fortified mountain village of Shaharah is tough to get to (probably why it remained unconquered for centuries) but worth making the effort for; if you prefer your travel safer and easier - but equally rewarding - try the lush region of Southern Yemen. Then there's the Wadi Hadramawt oasis where you can't help but get caught up in the mythical magic of it all, and Zabid - Unesco World Heritage site and the hottest city on earth. Need we go on?
To travel in this most traditional of Islamic countries, surrounded by a people whom the Prophet once described as ‘the most gentle-hearted of men’, is an experience you will not quickly forget.
Last updated: Aug 25, 2012
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