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Shibam is located in Yemen<div style="position: absolute; z-index: 2; top: Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "[".%; left: Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "[".%; height: 0; width: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;">
Shibam

</div>Location in Yemen


Coordinates:
Country Flag of Yemen Yemen
Governorate Hadhramaut
District Shibam
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Official name: Old Walled City of Shibam
Type: Cultural
Criteria: iii, iv, vi
Designated: 1982
Reference No. 192
State Party: Flag of Yemen Yemen
Region: Arab States

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Shibam (Arabic: شبام‎) (often referred to as Shibam Hadhramaut) is a town in Yemen. With about 7,000 inhabitants, it is the seat of the Shibam District in the Hadhramaut Governorate. It is famous for its mudbrick-made tower houses.

Shibam is thought to have existed since the 2nd century AD. It had been the capital of the Hadramawt Kingdom.

Shibam owes its fame to its distinct architecture, which is now on UNESCO's World Heritage Site program to safeguard the human cultural heritage. The houses of Shibam are all made out of mud bricks, but about 500 of them are tower houses, which rise 5 to 16 stories high,[1] with each floor having one or two apartments.[2] This building technique was implemented in order to protect residents from Bedouin attacks. While Shibam has existed for around 2,000 years, most of the city's houses originated during the 16th century. Many, though, have been rebuilt over and over again during the last few centuries.

Shibam is often called "the oldest skyscraper-city in the world", and is the earliest example of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction.[3] The city has the tallest mud buildings in the world, with some of them about 40 meters[4] (130 feet) high, thus being the first high-rise (which need to be at least 75 feet or 23 meters) apartment buildings and tower blocks (excepting the fired brick "insulae" apartment buildings of ancient Rome). The tallest building in the city is the mudbrick minaret which stands at about 53 meters (175 feet) tall.[2] In order to protect the buildings from rain and erosion, the façades are thickly coated and need to be maintained and frequently renovated by the inhabitants. The renovation can be completed by well-practiced workers within a short time.

HistoryEdit

The first known inscription about the city dates from the 3rd century AD.[5] It was the capital of the Hadramawt Kingdom.

GeographyEdit

The town is located in the central-western area of Hadhramaut Governorate, in the Ramlat al-Sab`atayn desert. Its main road links Sana'a and other cities of western Yemen to the far eastern territories. Nearest towns are Seiyun, seat of an airport, and Tarim, both in the east. Another road, departing from the village of Alajlanya, in the west; links Shibam to Al Mukalla, governorate's capital, located by the Indian Ocean.

ArchitectureEdit

OverviewEdit

Shibam, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, owes its fame to its distinct architecture.The houses of Shibam are all made out of mud brick and about 500 of them are tower houses, which rise 5 to 11 stories high,[6] with each floor having one or two rooms.[2] This architectural style was used in order to protect residents from Bedouin attacks. 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.

Shibam is often called "the oldest skyscraper city in the world" or "the Manhattan of the desert", and is one of the oldest and best examples of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction.[3] The city has some of the tallest mud buildings in the world, with some of them over 30 meters[7] (100 feet) high, thus being early high-rise apartment buildings. In order to protect the buildings from rain and erosion, the walls must be routinely maintained by applying fresh layers of mud. The nearby town of Tarim contains the tallest structure in the Wadi Hadhramaut valley, the mudbrick minaret of the Al-Mihdhar mosque. It stands at a height of approximately 53 meters (175 feet.)[2] This is the tallest minaret in the southern Arabian peninsula.[8]

In 1999 the documentary film Architecture of Mud was made on the subject by the filmmaker Caterina Borelli.[9]

ThreatsEdit

The city was heavily affected by flooding in 2008.[10] The foundations of many of the buildings in the city were compromised by the flood waters, eventually leading to their collapse.[11] It was also the target of an Al Qaeda attack in 2009.[12][13]

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Helfritz, Hans (April 1937), "Land without shade", Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society 24 (2): 201–16
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Pamela Jerome, Giacomo Chiari, Caterina Borelli (1999), "The Architecture of Mud: Construction and Repair Technology in the Hadhramaut Region of", APT Bulletin 30 (2-3): 39–48 [44], Error: Bad DOI specified
  3. 3.0 3.1 Old Walled City of Shibam, UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  4. Shipman, J. G. T. (June 1984), "The Hadhramaut", Asian Affairs 15 (2): 154–62, Error: Bad DOI specified
  5. "Wadi Hadramowt and walled city of Shabam". Retrieved on 2010-01-03.
  6. Helfritz, Hans (April 1937). "Land without shade". Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society 24 (2): 201–16. doi:10.1080/03068373708730789. 
  7. Shipman, J. G. T. (June 1984). "The Hadhramaut". Asian Affairs 15 (2): 154–62. doi:10.1080/03068378408730145. 
  8. p. 9, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, James Bamford, Random House, Inc., 2009, ISBN 0-307-27939-1.
  9. "Architecture of Mud". Documentary Educational Resources.
  10. "Death Toll Mounts In Tropical Storm", CBS 13 (2008-10-26). Retrieved on 2008-10-26. 
  11. "Historic Town of Shibam Hadramout Escapes Flooding Largely Unscathed", ITN Source (November 3, 2008). 
  12. "Al Qaeda blamed for Yemen attack", CNN (2009-03-16). Retrieved on 2009-04-26. 
  13. "Al-Qaeda in Yemen:Political, Social and Security Dimensions", Yemen Post (2009-04-12). Retrieved on 2009-04-26. 

External linksEdit

Template:Hadhramaut Governorate

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