Centuries before the modern age of skyscrapers dawned in Chicago and New York, the Middle East had its own skyscraper city – the oldest on earth. This is Shibam in Yemen, a place thought to have existed since the 2nd century AD.
Constructed out of mud bricks made from local clay, around 500 of Shibam’s buildings are tower houses standing between and 5 and 11 storeys tall. These are the tallest mud buildings in the world, some of them soaring over 100 feet high. Like the fortified wall that surrounds this fortress city, the building practice was employed to protect inhabitants from attacks by marauding Bedouin tribes.