Shibam is a city with mud skyscrapers that is under reconstruction. The modern day efforts to reconstruct the town of 7,000 people is based on vertical construction techniques that originated in the 16th century. Nicknamed the Manhattan of the desert, this city has gained notoriety in reconstruction efforts by a select number of people with the funding to make it happen. Because of where it is situated, this city has survived since the 16th century to the present day.
As far as things to do in this city, every Friday there is a street market that features many items for sale. Men and women in traditional Muslim clothing selling the many fruits and vegetables brought into the town. Bananas, onions, and many more. There are barbers waiting to trim the hair of the many townspeople who spend their hard earned wages at the market, along with the tourists. You can buy donkeys, catch taxis, meet new friends, and more. There are always a lot of warm smiles and happiness at the market, and it reminds you of the importance of appreciation.
Other things to do in Yemen include touring the various skyscrapers. These skyscrapers are legendary for their mud construction, and many of them are still standing. Although they require constant upkeep, they are still a functional part of the city. Originally, the design of the skyscrapers were meant to keep inhabitants safe from Bedouin attacks. Because people could be above the ground with locked doors in an upstairs floor, there was no way for the Bedouin to cause them any harm.
The town of Shibam has been in existence for around 1,700 years. However, in 2008, flood waters damaged many of the mud skyscrapers because flood waters persisted and caused the erosion of the structures themselves. There are tours you can book nowadays to discover the land of Shibam. You’ll meet a lot of new people if you want to and they will all be friendly to your company.
Shibam is rich in heritage. You can learn about the Bedouin attacks and why the skyscrapers were built in the first place. You can visit the street market on Fridays and experience some organic fruits and vegetables that haven’t been spoiled by pesticides and infertile soil. You truly get to experience how these people live each and every day and week to week.
While Shibam may not be a technologically advanced place to visit, there is something to say about the nostalgic feelings of less than developed areas. Hard work, honest living, and mastering of different trades takes center stage in the lives of the townspeople. It isn’t a very rich place, but work is in progress to not only restore the skyscrapers but also to expand the city and bring more modern developments. Your visit to Shibam won’t be soon forgotten as it is much too unique a place to forget. Be sure to bring enough spending cash to hit the market, but not too much as to draw too much attention to yourself.