Yemen (/ˈjɛmən/; Arabic: ٱلْيَمَن, romanized: al-Yaman), officially the Republic of Yemen (Arabic: ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْيَمَنِيَّةُ, romanized: al-Jumhūrīyah al-Yamanīyah, literally “Yemeni Republic”), is a country at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is the second-largest Arab sovereign state in the peninsula, occupying 527,970 square kilometres (203,850 square miles). The coastline stretches for about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles). It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and Guardafui Channel to the south, and Oman to the east. Yemen’s territory encompasses more than 200 islands, including the Socotra islands in the Guardafui Channel. Yemen is characterized as a failed state with high necessity of transformation. Yemen’s constitutionally stated capital is the city of Sanaa, but the city has been under Houthi rebel control since February 2015 as well as Aden, which is also controlled by the Southern Transitional Council since 2018. Its executive administration resides in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Sanaa (Arabic: صَنْعَاء, Ṣanʿāʾ [sˤɑnʕaːʔ], Yemeni Arabic: [ˈsˤɑnʕɑ]; Old South Arabian: 𐩮𐩬𐩲𐩥 Ṣnʿw), also spelled Sanaʽa or Sana, is the largest city in Yemen and the centre of Sanaa Governorate. The city is not part of the Governorate, but forms the separate administrative district of “Amanat Al-Asemah”. Under the Yemeni constitution, Sanaʽa is the capital of the country, although the seat of the Yemeni government moved to Aden in the aftermath of the Houthi occupation. Aden was declared as the temporary capital by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in March 2015.
Sanaʽa is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. At an elevation of 2,300 metres (7,500 ft), it is also one of the highest capital cities in the world and is next to the Sarawat Mountains of Jabal An-Nabi Shu’ayb and Jabal Tiyal, considered to be the highest mountains in the country and amongst the highest in the region. Sanaʽa has a population of approximately 3,937,500 (2012), making it Yemen’s largest city.
The Old City of Sanaʽa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a distinctive architectural character, most notably expressed in its multi-storey buildings decorated with geometric patterns. In the conflict that raged in 2015, bombs hit UNESCO sites in the old city. The Al Saleh Mosque, the largest in Sana’a, is located in the Old City.