With many of Shibam's 20th century residents
leaving the walled city a large number of the buildings began to
deteriorate. An important part of Yemen's culture was at risk of being lost to
erosion. But in the past 20 years governments, agencies and
individuals have cooperated to restore Shibam, not as a tourist
centre but as a living city.
Below is a map of the city showing
the progress made in its restoration which to date has restored
some 200 homes using traditional natural building techniques. To
the right of the map you can see the floor plans for a typical
home, the windows for which are often ornately carved (above left)
and carefully brought back to full glory by local artisans.