"The Curse of Unesco?" Top 5 Page for this destination Shibam by TheLongTone
Shibam Travel Guide: 27 reviews and 91 photos
I think that a photo of Shibam was probably among the selection that fisrt made me want to visit Yemen. Since then I have become increasingly interested in mud architecture: so Shibam, with it's mud buildings of up to eight stories high, was a definate 'must' on my itinerary.
Sadly I was most disappointed. True, the town is astonishing seen from a distance: and the view from the clifftop hanging over it to the South must be astonishing. But it doesn't feel like a town: it feels like a museum exhibit.
Inside the walls there was no sign of life apart from the goats and an occasional child. I know that the streets of other towns in the Hadramout aren't teeming with life during the daytime (most people are either indoors if female or working in the fields if male) but this was ridiculous. The only shops were those selling 'antiques' (inverted commas because you are not allowd to export anything over forty years old from Yemen) or honey. Ouside the walls there is a small number of shops: one juice stall, one chicken-with-rice diner, one tea stall.
All the real life is across the wadi in New Shibam. On my first visit it had rained heavily the previous night:by eight o'clock the road was awash and almost the first thing that happened to me after I had squelched my way across was an encounter with a glum German who told me that since the river was still rising I wouldn't be able to make the return crossing. Possibly for days. I occupied myself being a tourist in Shibam, found somewhere to have lunch, and settled down in the shade to watch almost every child and a good proportion of the men making the most of this opportunity to have a swim. Just like Clacton. Made me feel right at home. Kids mucking about in water are the same the world over.
Collective taxis to Shibam leave Sayun from a stand just past the new market, near the main taxi-rank. Getting a shared... more travel advice
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