Shibam (often referred to as Shibam Hadhramaut) is a town in Yemen. It is the seat of the Shibam District in the Hadhramaut Governorate. It is famous for its mudbrick-made high-rise buildings. The first known inscription about the city dates from the 3rd century. It was the capital of the Hadramawt Kingdom. Shibam, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 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 stories high, with each floor having one or two rooms. 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. The city has some of the tallest mud buildings in the world, with some of them over 30 m 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.
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