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?