Photo Samples, Yemen


For decades and centuries, Yemen has been inside a kind of "time capsule", very little affected by the rest of the world. Unlike all the other countries in the region, Yemen has never had vast ressources of oil, and, consequently, modern life has entered the country at a much slower pace than seen in i.e. the Gulf Region. Instead of oil rigs and fast cars, Yemen is full of old houses and traditional life - definitely my favourite Arab country.

As always, all photos are, of course Claus Qvist Jessen, and none of them are to used without my permission.

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The dry desert land of eastern Yemen, towards Oman, is as barren as anywhere on Earth. Life is governed by one thing: The availability of water. Claus Qvist Jessen

No Yemeni man goes far without his trusted Kalashnikov. This peaceful gentleman was my fellow-passenger in a local bus going to Sayun, Wadi Hadramawt, Yemen. Reportedly, there are more than 50 millions of "small guns" floating around i Yemen, which corresponds to more than four guns per person, old women and infants included! Claus Qvist Jessen

The Sultan's Palace of Sayun, the main city of Wadi Hadramawt, Yemen. Claus Qvist Jessen

From another angle: The Sultan's Palace of Sayun. To the left, the minaret of the central mosque - once again closed to infidels.
Claus Qvist Jessen


Local Arabs of Sayun, Wadi Hadramawt, Eastern Yemen. Claus Qvist Jessen

Wadi Hadramawt landscape around Shibam in the central part of the wadi. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Wadi Hadramawt in central-east Yemen is the longest wadi in the Arab world. A comparatively high rainfall has made human habitation possible for milleniums, and in Shibam house building has developed into mud-brick sky scrapers. Apppropriately, the town is nick-named "Manhattan of the Desert". Claus Qvist Jessen

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Most houses in Shibam Hadramawt are in between four and seven stories tall, with a few even taller, all made out of mud bricks.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Small girl from Shibam, Wadi Hadramawt, Yemen. Claus Qvist Jessen

The dry and barren Wadi Hadramawt somewhere in between Shibam and the coast. The family of Osama Bin Laden originally came from this region. Claus Qvist Jessen

Baghdad Cafe somewhere in the desert in between Wadi Hadramawt and Mukhalla at the coast; Yemen. Claus Qvist Jessen

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From Al-Mukalla at the coast, there is a decent chance of catching  some fairly big fish. This hard-fighting kingfish is about seven or eight kgs and hit a yellow-green Rapala plug. Claus Qvist Jessen

This is as much as you get! Only elderly women will ever reveal more than hands, feet and eyes. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Cheers! Same woman a bit closer. Claus Qvist Jessen

This Somali beggar from Aden surely knows how to cry on command. Quite an impressive performance, but it didn't help her. Stupid tourist! Claus Qvist Jessen

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Bir Ali, a small village / beach bit west of Al-Mukalla, is ideal for people who want to enjoy beaches and swimming and absolutely no tourists. Claus Qvist Jessen

Police check post in between Mukhalla and Aden; southern Yemen. Claus Qvist Jessen

Proud Yemeni police car on the road somewhere along the south coast of Yemen. Claus Qvist Jessen

The southern Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the old town of Sana, capital of Yemen and possibly my favourite capital of any country. Claus Qvist Jessen

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The mest beautiful highlight of Yemen is the old city of Sana (San'a). The houses are very old and made like traditional sky scrapers with solid rocks in the bottom part and mud bricks further up. This shpt is from right inside the Damascus Gate. Claus Qvist Jessen

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The white paintings around the windows of the Sana houses are made of gypsum (calcium sulphate), and supposedly it keeps away the evil spirits. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Dates in Sana are delicious and cheap. Great for lunch. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Wadi Dhar, 17 kms north-east of Sana is famous for its "Rock Palace", amde in the 1920'ies as a holiday home for Sultan Yahya. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Proud Yemeni man outside the Great Mosque in Sana. The famous knife (Jambiya) is not really good for anything, but serves solely symbolic purposes. Nevertheless, making the handles of rhino horn is the main reason for these big mammals to become extinct. Due to short supply, the handles are nowadays made of buffalo horn or wood. Claus Qvist Jessen

Womens fashion in Yemen is very conservative, as here shown by a Somali cleaning lady from Sana. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Ibb is a prosperous and comparatively fertile, highland town. It receives the highest rainfall of the whole Arab Peninsula and apples, oranges and vegetables are grown. Claus Qvist Jessen

Elderly men from Ibb, central Yemen. Note the Muslim tradition of dyeing the beard and sometimes hair in henna. Claus Qvist Jessen

The past-time of the elders in highland Yemen is playing dominoes, frequently accompanied by chai or qat. This photo is from Ibb, central Yemen. Claus Qvist Jessen

And the kids? Electronic archade games or table football, here from Ibb, central Yemen. Claus Qvist Jessen

Cheers! Not so shy girl from Ibb, central Yemen. Claus Qvist Jessen

How I first time got to Yemen: By hitching a ride from Massawa (Eritrea) to As-Saif (Yemen) on the fantastic, 33 metre long luxury cruise ship Katarina Maha, owned and run by the famous Captain Maurizio of Italy. To tourists, it's an expensive experience, but certainly worth it if you need some first-class pampering in unbeatable surroundings. Claus Qvist Jessen

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In the steep and partially fertile mountains west of Sana, most villages are placed on the top of escarpments or right on the edge of the abyss - for defensive purposes. this tradition is very much alive, as shown by this Al-Mahwit village. Claus Qvist Jessen

Local garage from Marib, a few hours east of Sana into the desert. Note the "tree" made of exhaust pipes. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Marib, 200 kms east of Sana used to be the capital in the old empire of Saba (Sheba), famous for the Queen Bilquis who once had a child with King Solomon of Jerusalem. Late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia claimed to be the 273th link in the straight line from then. This temple is popularly named "Temple of the Sun".
Claus Qvist Jessen

Local boy climbing the Queen of Saba (Queen of Sheba) "Temple of the Sun". Claus Qvist Jessen

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Another Marib reminder of the past: Old Marib, now deserted.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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