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The kingdom of Saba, with its capital, Marib, had existed since the first millennium is depicted in the Koran as a punishment from God.The prosperity of the principal rival kingdoms, Saba, Hadhramaut, Awsan, Qataban, and Ma'in, was based on the cultivation and overland exportation of frankincense, myrrh, and spices to the Mediterranean.Ancient South Arabian culture developed an intricate architecture and created masterpieces of figurative and decorative arts.It maintained contacts with Egypt, Greece, Palmyra, Chaldea, and Abyssinia, which was founded by Sabaeans, as well as India.It is an area of fishing, commerce, and trade in the ports of al-Mukha (Mocha) and al-Hudayda as well as agriculture in oases (the main crops are millet, maize, sugarcane, watermelons, tobacco, and cotton) as well as livestock breeding.Handicrafts are made in Zabid, Bayt al-Faqih, and other centers.The birthrate is high, and almost half the population is under fifteen years of age. Yemenis speak Arabic, which belongs to the Semitic language family.Classical Arabic, the language of Islam and the Koran, is used on formal occasions.
There are salt deposits near Shabwa, Safir, and Harib.
The central mountains consist of wide plateaus and basins.
Fields are watered from wells and rainfall is sufficient for most crops.
The coffee tree, the state eagle, the national colors, and the Marib Dam are shown in the new national emblem.
The colors of the national flag (horizontal bands of red, white, and black) reflect pan-Arab symbolism, being similar to the flags of Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.
The name of the country is derived from the legendary ancestor Yaman, the son of Qahtan, or from the Arabic root ymn ("the right") since Yemen is located to the right of the Meccan sanctuary of Kaaba.