Shibam highrises and UNESCO World Heritage Sites

KorbenDallas

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Using google images search pays off sometimes. I was looking up some images related to this thread here, and associated images lead me to a small middle-eastern town called Shibam, Yemen.

Let us make an immediate note that Shibam is protected by UNESCO. This involvement is becoming a telltale sign of you know what. It also, considering the international nature of the UNESCO organization, reflects on the globality of their project. It also demonstrates that all of the participating parties are betting for the same team.

Shibam
Shibam is a town in Yemen. With about 7,000 inhabitants, it is the seat of the District of Shibam in the Governorate of Hadhramaut. Known for its mudbrick-made high-rise buildings, it is referred to as the "Chicago of the Desert" or "Manhattan of the Desert".

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History
The first known inscription about the city dates from the 3rd century CE. 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.

Shibam is often called "the oldest skyscraper city in the world". It is one of the oldest and best examples of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction. The city has some of the tallest mud buildings in the world, with some of them over 30 m (98 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.

16th Century
allegedly

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KD: well, this was Wikipedia and nothing else. Make your own conclusions on what type of knowledge one would need to design and build something like that. I have my personal doubts about the age of Shibam’s buildings. I think they are no older than 300 years old, but that’s just my understanding of the time frames we are dealing with.

In my opinion, this Shibam could look somewhat similar to the Algerian
Timgad, if it were to get cut down by a powerful blast, or by a huge tsunami.

And remember, when attacked by bedouins, build a skyscraper city for protection. Apparently that works great.


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How about this town: Ma'rib - Wikipedia
 

ISeenItFirst

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Wow, never seen buildings quite like that. Doesn't seem very advanced. Curious what the insides look like.

I think mud brick is going to require very regular maintenance. Such that any mud brick building as old as 300 years, might as well be new, for all the material that has been changed over time.

So are we meant to believe this city has been continuously inhabited and maintained for 2500 years?
 

ISeenItFirst

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That's more or less what you can expect from a non maintained mud brick building, or a poorly constructed one.
Could this type of brick be our answer for melted buildings?
I don't think so. On this post, the first thing I did was look at the pic up close. Didn't even notice the damaged one at first, but I knew they were mud brick building right away. I was expecting the article to be about an ancient stone city and I was fixed to call B.S.

There is no comparison between these mud piles and the magnificent stone buildings.

Although, maybe it could explain some of them, I'm certainly not saying every building described as melted couldn't be justbdamaged mud brick.
 
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Ice Nine

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I don't know either, I seem to be getting more confused as time goes by instead of making any sense out of stuff.
It helps to write it out or say it out loud trying to explain things, and if by the time I'm done it starts to make no sense at all, then I'm not on the right track.
I can't imagine how if buildings made out of mud bricks get covered in ash/mud or a huge deluge, how they would still remain intact enough to be later dug back out. I agree with @ISeenItFirst these mud piles are not the magnificent stone buildings we are seeing the remains of elsewhere. They were originally stone, or geopolymers or wood constructions.

These are no more than mud huts stacked on top of each other. So I don't think the exposed "caves" in the background are any of these, they could be much older and from a previous more substantial town. with real skyscrapers not made of just mud.
 

dianag

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That area of the world built what is called rammed earth buildings.

The oldest earth building remains are around 8,000 years old, but rammed earth has some notable long lasting examples. Most of the Great Wall of China is either rammed earth or has a large component of rammed earth as its basis. The Chinese found 2,000 years ago that in labour creation and resource management, earth could not be bettered.

There is a Wiki page with more information on this building technique.
Rammed earth - Wikipedia
 

BStankman

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Ice Nine

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Man no kidding, we can see it happening now, right before us and I'm thinking no, there is not a place on Earth where there aren't signs of a lost and forgotten civilization. That area is full of evidence all over the place.

Another UNESCO site nearby Shibam, another the ancient city of Sana'a where we have
The Dar al-Hajar (Arabic: دار الحجر‎, "Stone House") is a royal palace located in Wadi Dhar near Sana‘a, Yemen.

It was the residence of owanjiwa in Japan Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din, ruler of Yemen. The building on top of a rock was built as a summer retreat.

Oh boy, more evidence of buildings with the overburden right up the sides of the building, just like we see so many other places, especially on buildings that are "perched" on a big rock. Meteora Monasteries, Greece and Hermit caves

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BrokenAgate

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This architectural style was used in order to protect residents from Bedouin attacks.
So, no enterprising Bedouin chief realized that he could surround a building with his entire tribe and smoke everyone out? Lucky for that city's inhabitants that the Bedouins were pretty dumb.
 

BStankman

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So, no enterprising Bedouin chief realized that he could surround a building with his entire tribe and smoke everyone out? Lucky for that city's inhabitants that the Bedouins were pretty dumb.
Something needs to explain the population density within the walls.
The river is intermittent. I suppose they could have wells within the walls down to the water table.
But I haven't found one yet.

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Here is a link to a 360 view at street level.

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Old Walled City of Shibām - Ḩaḑramawt - Yemen
 

Ice Nine

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I'm sure Shibam is just basically one big city block of an entire sprawled out old city that filled that entire region. They managed to keep a portion intact, for a "historical area".

Hababah Water Cistern
Cisterns are a classic feature in many of Yemen’s old settlements. Villagers carved the large pools out of the rock and used them to store rainwater. These reservoirs were a key water source within the parched desert and kept the land from flooding during downpours.
 
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