Thursday, October 2, 2008

Yemen's Shibam: Oldest Skyscraper

asia travel spots, Shibam

Hardly recognized as a tourist attraction, Yemen is rich in architectural and historic landmarks and edifices making it's mark in UNESCO's cultural heritage site. One of those is Shibam, an old town located at Hadramawt in Eastern Yemen. The walled-city was occupied by 7,000 inhabitants and 500 independent houses built together. This 16-century old city was tagged "Manhattan of the desert" due to it's tower-like structures built in the cliff.

asia travel spots, ShibamMost houses were made out of mud making amusing because it lasted for almost 2,000 years most of them rebuilt to gain it's original form. Meanwhile, tower houses built in the city rise from 5 to 11 stories high with floors comprising one or two apartments. It is a tactic of the residents to protect themselves against various attacks. It is also a car-free town because the alleys are too narrow to even pass a simple car.

asia travel spots, ShibamSome of the attractions in the city are Al Mukalla, Al-Hajarrah and Wadi Dhahr. The best site is Al Mukalla because the edifice stands beneath the shore. Far from distance, you can have the view of somewhat city emerge in a body of water. The next time you think of Yemen, think Shibam. Are your bags get packed?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

China's Yunnan Stone Forest

asia destinations, Yunnan Stone Forest

We could only think of forest consisting of mainly flora and fauna. Don't get me wrong because in China, there is a forest that consist of stones. You read it right, this one of-a-kind nature's marvel can be found in the district of Kunming in Yunnan, China. Known locally as Shilin, this region of karst formation covers 400 square kilometers that includes big and small stone forests making it the most important attraction of the entire province.

asia destinations, Yunnan Stone ForestResearch shows that 270 million years ago, the Stone Forest was a shallow sea before. As time goes by, lithosphere elements move that causes the water to retreat and the emerging of these limestone landscapes. Erosion of these elements mainly cause the existence of the modern-day Stone Forest. That mainly explains the existence of underground river, karst lake, underground stone forest and other attractions found here.

asia destinations, Yunnan Stone ForestSpeaking of attractions, Stone Forest has a lot to offer it's yearly visitors and tourists. There is the Subterranean Stone Forest, Strange Wind Cave, Long Lake, Major Stone Forest, Minor Stone Forest and Naigu Stone Forest. One of much-awaited events here is the Torch Festival which is held every lunar year of June 24. In this festivity, Sani people (natives of the place) along with the expectators take part in the traditional events such as wrestling, bull fighting, pole-climbing, dragon-playing, lion-dancing and the A-xi Moon Dance. This is also the best time for young men and women meet their future spouses. No other place like Stone Forest offers the best of both worlds: tradition and natural wonder.