Just to walk around this place is an experience. The size of the structures will get you you.When I first saw the place it did not have the effect on me that it did when I had a chance to look back at the trip/visit. Take a bottle of water with you and maybe a book, find a place to sit and enjoy this place....It's Yemen, there will not be many...more
If you are lucky enough to make it out here...gotta take a few photos. There is a hillside opposite of the Old City. Depending on how fast you walk it will take 15-20 minutes to get up to the viewing area. You cross the main road and then what looked like a dirty football field and then up the hillside past some of the local's houses. It is a...more
Shibam is a town in Hadramawt, Yemen with about 7,000 inhabitants. It has been the capital of the Hadramawt Kingdom for several periods of time. (There is also a town by the same name outside Yemen's capital of Sana'a. To avoid confusion, the town of this article is therefore often referred to as Shibam Hadhramaut.)Shibam owes its fame to its...more
Shibam Main Square is in the centre of the city and all the streets lead from it.It is very dusty, but quite charming with the mosque on one side, a small shrine and a shop at the end. There are goats lying around and the few times we found ourselves in the square there were not too many people.The mosque is small and looks quite old. We didn't go...more
Women in the Hadramaut area wear all black and the ones who work in the fields wear tall conical shaped straw sunhats, like witches hats, which contrast quite starkly with their black clothes. Everybody wants to photograph them but unfortunately women in Yemen do not like being photographed, those in Hadramaut more so. We saw some women working in...more
Take a look at the doors and windows of Shibam as you are vwalking around - they are really interesting. The windows have ornamentally carved screens made from local wood.The doors are heavy and carved in different patterns, but are not very high and have a distinctive lock which can be opened from inside the house with a huge key. A cord runs up...more
The houses in Shibam are up to 9 floors high and made from traditional mud bricks which are used for building throughout the Hadramaut. Mud brick is highly prone to weathering and needs repairing every year and after the rains. The shabbiness of parts of the city add to its charm, and although it is being restored it is very rundown in some...more
You get the best photographs of Shibam in late afternoon, if you cross the main road and pass the wadi area where the children are playing football. Walk up behind the houses to the hill and climb up the path until you get the view of the old city with the mountains behind. As the daylight starts to fade the whole scene takes on a golden glow.more
You are not spoilt for choice in Shibam. Although there is a cafe just inside the gate, it was closed on the occasion of my visits, limiting the choice to the string of moderne buildings between the walled town and the road. Here you'll find a basic chicken and rice (again) diner, a tea stall, a place selling cold drinks and a basic shop selling water& cold drinks.
Shibam is very quiet at night: not many tourists around and the inhabitants indoors in the largest part of the city. As none of the streets are paved, it's very dusty. Watch the men sitting in the squares with a band around their back and knees, helping them keep their balance.
To get here you can either drive from Sanaa via Marib or Al Mukalla as I did or if you are pressed for time you can fly Yemenia into Sayun and it is a 15 min or so drive from the airport.I would suggest driving in and flying out if time is critical. Shibam sits in the middle of Wadi Hadramawt which is basically a huge canyon full of small...more
Most tours are organised to drive from Marib across the empty quarter to Hadramaut. At the time of my visit the FCO wre not allowing Brits to visit Marib so we flew from Sana'a to Seiyun, the main town of Hadramaut and drove to Shibam from there. The view from the plane over the Hadramaut landscape is stunning and it is worth having your camera...more
Form Seiyun, you can take shared taxi for YR100 (30 mins) to Shibam. The taxi will wait for 5 pax beofre it starts off. From shibam, the atxi with the same fare for return. But the later you come back, i.e. the darker the sky is, the most difficult for you to get shared taxi and you may end up chartting a taxi for YR500-1,000 (May 2008). So do take...more
This was a small shop inside the old city. The owner found me in some alley there. While I am not a big fan of buying junk I do try and support the locals when I get a chance and this was that chance. There are probably other shops in the old city so keep your eyes open as you wander around. Futa is wrap around dress that Yemeni men...more
In the dusty streets you will find a lot of antique shops. They're often seemingly closed, but ususally will readily open when you arrive. Although not unique, Shibam (Hadramawt) is probably the best place to find wooden objects, such as chests, "harem" windows, carved doors and other wooden furniture and objects. Some of the stuff would be...more
2 Reviews and Opinions
This is one place in Yemen where you will get chased around by children/urchins looking for a few bucks in exchange for some needless guide services. I ended up buying one persistent bugger a coke in the end but if I had a chance to do it over I would have picked up one of the countless gat bags laying around and told him to fill it up with trash and then gave him a tip.
Since there is no refuse collection here at the time this is a good way to let the kids earn a buck or two.