Shibam – The “Skyscraper city” of the Desert in Shibam

A town with about 7,000 inhabitants, known for its mudbrick-made high-rise buildings. The first known inscription about the city dates from the 3rd century CE. It was the capital of the Hadramawt Kingdom.

Shibam is known for its distinct architecture. The houses of Shibam are all made out of mud brick, and about 500 of them are tower blocks, which rise 5 to 11 storeys high, with each floor having one or two rooms. While Shibam has been in existence for an estimated 1,700 years, most of the city’s houses originate from the 16th century. Many, though, have been rebuilt numerous times in the last few centuries.

The city has some of the tallest mud buildings in the world, with some of them over 30 meter high. In order to protect the buildings from rain and erosion, the walls must be routinely maintained by applying fresh layers of mud.


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