Shibam is a town in Yemen. With about 7,000 inhabitants, it is the seat of the Shibam District in the Hadhramaut Governorate. The first known inscription about the city dates from the 3rd century AD. It was the capital of the Hadramawt Kingdom. Shibam, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, owes its fame to its distinct architecture.The houses of Shibam are all made out of mud brick and about 500 of them are tower houses, which rise 5 to 11 stories high, with each floor having one or two rooms. This architectural style was used in order to protect residents from Bedouin attacks. While Shibam has been in existence for an estimated 1,700 years, most of the city's houses originate from the 16th century. Many, though, have been rebuilt numerous times in the last few centuries.