The Yemeni Landscape

Yemen has a beautiful and varied landscape, with the land being made up of mountains, deserts and coastal regions.  The mountains in the centre and west of the country are home to the highest peak in the Arabian Peninsula, Jabal an-Nabi Shu’ayb, standing tall at 12,336 feet (3760 meters). The country’s landscape means that the climate varies from region to region. In the east is the desert area known as the ‘Empty Quarter’ which is very hot, where temperatures can reach over 50 degrees Celsius during the day, and years can go by without any rainfall. The coastal region is hot and humid, whilst the western and central highlands are cooler and the temperatures can fall below freezing in winter.

There are no lakes or rivers in the country. Instead, there are dry riverbeds called wadis which are filled when it rains. The lack of permanent rivers can lead to a shortage of fresh water. The rainy season in Yemen lasts from April to July or August. This rainfall helps with the growing of crops in the country as the rain runs down the mountains into the valleys.


The images in this blog were taken near the city of Taiz in the highlands of Yemen and give an idea of the landscape of the region.


Yemeni Jewellery

Yemeni society had a creative tradition and is known for its craftsmanship.  In particular, it is famous for its traditional Jewish silver jewellery.  There used to be a large Jewish community in the country, but after Israel was founded in 1948, many left, taking their skills with them.  Some did pass on their skills to Yemenis, but there has been a further decline in the making of silver jewellery in recent years.  Gold has over taken it in popularity, and traditional jewellery is now only really worn on special occasions, such as weddings and religious festivals.  However, there are some silversmiths still keeping this craft alive in Yemen and, before the recent troubles in the country some started, making items for the tourist market.  The image of the silver dagger broach is an example of an item made for the tourist market in the 1990s.