Population, Art and Architecture
Shibam, North Yemen, Great Mosque, fine silver jewelry, Yemenis
Yemen has a rich and varied tradition of arts and handicrafts. In addition to painting, sculpture, and metalwork, the making of stained glass is a popular art form in Yemen, and the brightly colored glass is often used to decorate public buildings and private homes. Although North Yemen was known for its fine silver jewelry, much of this was the work of Jewish artisans who have since relocated to Israel. Yemenis also have a tradition of oral literature; poetry is often delivered during celebrations and is sometimes broadcast via radio or television.
Although Yemen’s public architecture is undistinguished, the country is graced with spectacular works of domestic architecture, from the stone fortress villages on mountain slopes to the often fancifully decorated, multistoried stone and mud-brick skyscrapers of Sana‘a and Shibam. Other examples of striking architecture include the serpentine mud construction of Sa‘dah in the north and the geometrically decorated mud-brick buildings of Zabid on the Tihamah.
Cultural sites in Yemen include the Republican Palace in Sana‘a, where the imam, or Zaydi political ruler, lived. There are important mosques in most of Yemen’s major cities, and more than 40 in Sana‘a alone; especially notable is the Great Mosque in Sana‘a, an important Zaydi house of worship.
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