Overview of Yemen

Overview of Yemen Last updated on Monday 26th April 2010

Overview Yemen

Official name

Republic of Yemen


Sana'a, in the north, is the political capital
Aden, the former capital of South Yemen, is the commercial capital

Main Port

al-Hudayah on the Red Sea




Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Legislative branch

Unicameral House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Judicial branch

Supreme Court

Administrative divisions

17 governorates: Abyan, Adan, Al Bayda' Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, Ataq, Dhamar, Hadhramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Sa'dah, Sana'a', Ta'izz

Legal system

Based on Islamic law, Turkish law, English common law and local tribal customary law.


Yemen has been a Muslim country since 628 AD. Islam is the state religion and the religion of the vest majority of Yemenis; there are also small communities of Jews.


The population is estimated at 18 million. Approximately one million live in Sana'a and half the number in the second city Aden. Three quarters of the people live outside larger towns in villages and remote locations throughout the county.

Population density

About 45 people per sq km (about 117 per sq mile)


Arabic is the official and predominantly spoken language. The use of English is widespread and is the most important non-Arabic spoken language.


Yemeni riyal
Exchange rates are variable. In mid-1996, they were around 50 riyals = U.S.$1 at the official rate, rising to around 135 riyals = U.S.$1 from some money-changers.

Public holidays

Friday is the official day of rest, when offices are closed. On weekdays, banks and government offices open from 8 or 9am until 12 noon or 1pm and close in the afternoon. Shops and restaurants open in the mornings and again in the evenings.

Islamic holidays are observed and in addition to these, there are the following secular holidays:

May 1st, Labour Day

May 22nd, Day of National Unity

September 26th, Revolution Day

October 14th, National Day

November 30th, Independence Day

*Other public holidays occurring at variable dates every year, according the Gregorian calendar, include:

Eid Al-Adha.

Islamic New Year's Day.

Birth Day of Prophet Mohamed.

Al-Esra wa Al-Mi'raj (Prophet Mohamed's ascension to Heaven).

Eid El-Fitr (three days holiday).

International dialing codes

+ 967 (areas formerly Yemen Arab Republic)
+ 969 (areas formerly People's Democratic Republic of Yemen)

Time zone

GMT + 3 hours

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