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Map of YemenFlag of YemenYemen / Cities and Towns /
Arabic: shibām

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Shibam, Yemen. Photo: Earl and Nazima Kowall/CORBIS
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Shibam, Yemen.
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Town in Yemen with about 16,000 inhabitants, in the middle of the Hadramawt valley.
Shibam owes its fame to its distinct architecture, which now is on UNESCOs programme to safeguard the human cultural heritage. The houses of Shibam are all made out of mud bricks, but still there are about 500 tower houses, rising 5 to 9 storeys high.
While Shibam has existed for around 2,000 years, most of the city's houses come mainly from the 16th century. However over the following centuries, many have been rebuilt over and over again.
Shibam is often called "the oldest skyscraper-city in the world", which is a claim with quite a bit of consistency.

By Tore Kjeilen