Yemen Arts and Literature


A very old tradition of poets who write both in classical Arabic and in the vernacular lives on in the country; there are also mixed forms with regard to grammatical structures and vocabulary. For example, the medieval verse form muwashshah used in Yemen in classical Arabic has become a form of poetry in the vernacular. This poetry has developed into both a medium for national and political messages as well as a dramatic means of expression. Prominent writers and literary critics today are Abd Allah al-Baraduni and Abd al-Aziz al-Maqalih.

Yemen Population Pyramid

  • Countryaah: Population and demographics of Yemen, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.


The craftsmanship in Yemen during Islamic times is characterized by high jewelery skills in jewelery with filigree work, mainly in silver, cut semi-precious stones, gemstones and seals. The weapon craft is also highly developed, for example in the production of the characteristic daggers, jambiya, with decorated silver mounts and ornamented leather shawls. Wooden and metal objects such as incense burners and mortars are decorated with inlays of silver and bronze. The traditional costumes are embroidered with colored silk and wool, gold and silver thread, often in geometric patterns.

The National Museum in Sana, housed in the former Imam Palace, has a representative collection, ranging from ancient finds to ethnographic objects.


Yemen has a very distinct and interesting older architecture with medieval traditions, especially in the capital Sana and in Shibam in Hadramawt. In these cities, tall residential buildings have been built with up to nine floors. The houses are built of stone, sun-dried brick and clay. In Sana, the houses are richly decorated with painted white window frames and ornaments, in Shibam the architecture has a tighter design without decor. Residential houses on several floors, mainly for defense reasons, are also found in the countryside and in the mountain villages, where the houses are built of carved natural stone. In coastal cities, the architecture of tradition has been designed for a hot and humid climate and the houses are built of coral stone.

According to tradition, the large mosque in Sana was founded already during the time of Muhammad (600th century) but has taken its present form after rebuilding in recent centuries. During the Ottoman era, the al-Bakiriyya Mosque (1597) was built. In Shibam, the grand mosque, founded in the 7th century, has been preserved in its original hypostyle form from the 8th century with a minaret from the 16th century.

Yemen Arts and Literature