When New York was founded (by the Dutch in 1624) big buildings were hard to imagine. But at the same time, some of the oldest “skyscrapers” are built in the city of Shibam (Yemen). That’s why this city got nickname “Manhattan in the desert.”
Shibam is often called “the oldest skyscraper city in the world” or “the Manhattan of the desert”, and is one of the oldest and best examples of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction. The city has the tallest mud buildings in the world, with some of them over 30 meters (100 feet) high, thus being early high-rise apartment buildings. In order to protect the buildings from rain and erosion, the façades are thickly coated and must be routinely maintained.