Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The world's oldest skyscrapers: Shibam, Yemen

Originally uploaded by krhocevar_postcrossing
It was a happy day at my house when an official Postcrossing postcard arrived from Yemen. For ages now, I've been contemplating the best subject to discuss in my post about this mysterious country. Finally, I've decided something: some places in this world are so unique, and so different from what we know, that posting some words on a blog will never truly do it justice. Yemen is such a place, so I'm posting a video I think will be much more instructive than anything I can write. It's a little over 9 minutes, so it's an investment of time, but you'll see what the streets of Shibam look like, you'll see a traditional ceremony, see the food the locals eat, and learn a little history. I've never seen a place anything like it.

A few words first: Shibam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because it is said to be home to the world's oldest skyscrapers. It is a walled city and the first known example of urban planning based on vertical construction, and has been called the Manhattan of the desert. Some of these buildings, made of mud brick and up to eleven stories tall, are over half a millennium old. Shibam itself is over 1700 years old.

The economy of the region of Hadramaut is largely agrarian. Cities exist mainly as a place to sell and distribute goods produced on farms. The region is home to the Arab ethnic group the Hadhrami, which has its own Arab dialect. The Hadhrami have diaspora communities around the globe, particularly in Singapore, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Please enjoy the video, I really did!


Nadia said...

Wow Marvellous!You Realy had Fun!

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