Shibam. Image © Flickr User Dan under (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.
Skyscrapers are an unmissable characteristic of contemporary settlements. From São Paolo to New York, from Seoul to Dubai – these towering structures are a ubiquitous part of the urban fabric. The conventional image one has of these structures is of curtain-walled facades, but in Yemen – an ancient example goes against this trend. Central Yemen is home to the city of Shibam, surrounded by a fortified wall. It’s also home to a dazzling example of architectural ingenuity – tower houses that date back to the 16th century, stretching up to seven stories high.