Which Are the Countries That Start With Y?


Traveling to Yemen, the Only Country Starting with Y

Let’s be real: geography quizzes can sometimes be boring. You spend ages trying to remember those capitals and figuring out those lines on a map, only to forget them all the next day. Wait! There’s one fact that you won’t easily forget: Did you know there’s just one country that starts with Y? Yes, it’s Yemen.

Curious now? You should be! Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula. It is a land filled with stories, stunning scenery, and a rich culture like no other. So forget about those textbooks and dusty old atlases. I’m here to take you on a reading trip to discover the mysteries of Yemen.

From Mountain Majesty to Coastal Charm: Yemen’s Diverse Landscape

Yemeni landscape
Landscape in Yemen

Yemen stands out from the image of a barren desert country. It offers landscapes that can truly inspire the imagination. Imagine snow-capped mountains reaching towards the sky, adorned with green terraces on their slopes. Picture expansive golden dunes that seem to extend, carrying stories of civilizations. Adding to its allure, Yemen features a coastline with unspoiled beaches kissed by the crystal waters of the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

A Traveling Through Time: Yemen’s Rich History

Sana'a old city in Yemen
Sana’a, Yemen

History enthusiasts, brace yourselves for an interesting read! Yemen’s rich history spans centuries. The ancient Sana’a, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features some of the oldest continuously inhabited areas globally. Picture strolling through winding alleyways flanked by towers that almost seem to reach the sky. These architectural wonders, with origins dating back a lot of centuries, serve as observers of civilizations.

Moreover, Yemen played a role along the spice route, a network of trade paths connecting East and West. One can only imagine the air being filled with enticing scents of cinnamon, cloves, and frankincense as caravans carrying goods crisscrossed this land.

A Feast for the Senses: Presenting Yemeni Cuisine

Food is like a form of expression, and Yemeni cuisine is like a poem. Say goodbye to meals. Yemeni dishes burst with vibrant colors, rich flavors, and enticing aromas. Picture soft flatbreads known as “malawach” paired with dips such as zhug, a green chili paste that will ignite your taste buds (in a delightful way).

Man making coffee in kitchen in Yemen
Man making traditional coffee in Yemen

If you’re craving something from the ocean, try “samak machli,” a fish stew cooked in a tomato and herb broth. For vegetarians, there’s no shortage of options in Yemen, including “medames,” a savory stew made with fava beans seasoned with spices and fresh herbs.

Beyond the Tourist Trail: Yemen’s Hidden Places

Visiting Sana’a and the bustling port city of Aden is a must when visiting Yemen. However, beyond these destinations lie hidden treasures waiting to be uncovered. Travel into the enchanting Hadramawt Valley, where lush riverbeds and ancient mudbrick towns create a beautiful landscape that seems to defy all expectations.

Store with seeds at Yemeni market
Yemeni market

For an adventure, set your sights on Socotra Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site often referred to as the “Galapagos of the Arabian Sea.” This remote island is home to many plant and animal species, including peculiar trees reminiscent of oversized lollipops and exotic birds strutting about with an air of ownership.

Yemen: A Land of Warm Hospitality

girls in their traditional attire in Yemen
Yemeni girls in their traditional attire

Yemen stands out for its people, known for their hospitality despite the country’s struggles. A friendly smile and a welcoming “Marhaba” can lead to open doors and hearts. Get ready for plenty of cardamom coffee and an offer to share a meal showcasing the nature of Yemenis.

Traveling Yemen: A Few Things to Keep in Mind

For those seeking thrills, traveling through Yemen can be an adventure. It’s crucial to be well prepared. Given Yemen’s landscape, it’s advisable to stay informed by consulting your government’s travel advisories before finalizing your travel plans. 

When it comes to clothing, making the right choice is important for comfort. Opt for long-sleeved tops and trousers for both genders. Showing reverence for traditions is greatly appreciated by the locals.

Yemen: The Enigmatic Jewel of the Islamic World

Mosque highlighting the Islamic heritage of Yemen
The largest mosque in Yemen

Yemen’s rich history is woven with threads of Islamic faith. Mosques, the center of religious life, grace the skylines of Yemeni towns. The Grand Mosque of Sana’a is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture; its towering minarets have been a landmark for centuries. Stepping inside these sanctuaries, you’ll be enveloped in a sense of serenity. The intricate calligraphy adorning the walls and the rhythmic chants of worshippers create an atmosphere of peace. The Yemeni mosques offer a glimpse into the deep faith that nourishes the nation’s spirit.

Beyond the Headlines – A Land of Ancient Wonders (Safety Considerations Included)

Houthi rebels celebrating with their guns in the air
Houthi rebels

Yemen’s recent history has been marked by a civil war involving the Houthi movement, a Zaidi Shia group. While the conflict has primarily been contained within certain regions, it’s important to stay informed about the latest developments before traveling. The safety of tourists is a top priority for the Yemeni government. Many popular tourist destinations remain peaceful. If you’re planning a trip to Yemen, register with your embassy and research the specific areas you plan to visit. Local guides can provide valuable insights. Ensure you have a safe experience traveling through Yemen.

The Allure of Yemen: A Country Waiting to be Discovered

Hadramawt Valley in Yemen
Hadramawt Valley, Yemen

Yemen, the only country starting with Y, is a place that will leave you impressed. From its beautiful landscapes to its lively culture and mouthwatering cuisine, Yemen offers an unforgettable experience. It’s a chance to enter deeper into the wonders of the Arabian Peninsula, a region also boasting interesting destinations like Jordan (known for its ancient city of Petra) and Yellowstone National Park in the United States (sharing the initial “Y” but existing in a whole other world). Yemen promises an adventure unlike any other—a chance to connect with welcoming people and discover a hidden location that deserves a rightful place on your travel list.

1 Comment

  1. Loved this article! Yemen is a country with rich history. It’s a shame it doesn’t get more recognition as a travel destination, because of the Houthi. Have you ever been? If so, what was your favorite part?

    Yemen deserves to be on more travel lists, but I understand the current situation might make some people hesitant. Hopefully, things will improve in the future and more people will get to experience the beauty of this hidden gem.

    In the meantime, are there any other countries starting with less common letters you might write about? I’d love to learn more about Micronesia or Nauru!

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