Where in the world?

Where in the world is there a town called “the Chicago of the desert?”

Where in the world is there a town called “the Chicago of the Desert”?

Turns out this is located in Yemen! this fascinating site is a small town of around 7,000 people called Shibam Hadramawt, or Shibam for short. Shibam stands as one of the earliest examples of “skyscrapers”, made entirely out of mud brick! While they’re not nearly as tall as the sky scrapers we know today, only having around 5-7 floors, they still show amazing architecture and one of the first examples of urban planning utilizing multi floored structures. The residents decided to build such tall vertical buildings in this manner for defense, protecting them from attacks by hostile groups.

To this day the buildings are still used by the town residents, and while they have been thoroughly damaged by wind and rain erosion, they are constantly maintained with fresh layers of mud so that they can continue to stand. The entire town has been dedicated as a world heritage site and is well known for having some of the tallest mud brick structures in the world.


Interested in learning more about Yemen? Sign up for this year’s digital exchange and connect with students from Yemen, and other counties around the world! No need to leave your living room to experience cultures and countries around the world!

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