The Manhattan of the Desert
August 27, 2007 2:00 PM   Subscribe

 
Beautiful, even in their constant state of decay. Thanks for posting this.
posted by davejay at 2:08 PM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow.
posted by delmoi at 2:08 PM on August 27, 2007


Actually I read about some Italian structures that were pretty old as well and had the same 'skyscraper' look (but no windows). It was on metafilter, but I can't find a link. Anyone remember? Were those older? They were certainly not as impressive as this, though.
posted by delmoi at 2:18 PM on August 27, 2007


Article from "Saudi Aramco World" (sorry, pictures are in a restricted archive). I'd love to go spend some time in Hadramaut.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:25 PM on August 27, 2007


Beautiful. Interesting that in most cases, they use the gypsum plaster/whitewash on the exterior of the higher stories only.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:26 PM on August 27, 2007


I remember reading somewhere that when Thera went kerflooey, many of the structures destroyed in Minoan Crete were five and six stories high, with working plumbing to the top floors. Anyone know if that's true? Even if so, it doesn't compare to these.
posted by Haruspex at 2:43 PM on August 27, 2007


That's so fucking cool! The fact that I'd never heard of this before reminds me of what an utterly provincial, US-centric moron I am.
posted by serazin at 2:44 PM on August 27, 2007


What serazin said.
Great post.
posted by nasreddin at 2:47 PM on August 27, 2007


Awesome. And I say that as someone who lives in the real Manhattan.
posted by nowonmai at 3:17 PM on August 27, 2007


Thirding what serazin said.
posted by notsnot at 3:18 PM on August 27, 2007


Burhanistan: I remember flipping through that magazine in my high school library (midwest US).
posted by desjardins at 3:35 PM on August 27, 2007


gorgeous--i'd love to visit--thanks!
posted by amberglow at 3:39 PM on August 27, 2007


desjardins: Saudi Aramco distributes that magazine free of charge. You just have to find a copy with an intact subscription card. It's a consistently top-notch publication.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:40 PM on August 27, 2007


Mash'allah! I've been wanting to visit Yemen for so long now. Only problem is a slight tendency of the locals to kidnap foreigners & hold them for ransom, sometimes killing them. The solution is to hire guards armed with AK-47s, but that doesn't make for a very relaxing holiday in my books.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:16 PM on August 27, 2007


Actually I read about some Italian structures that were pretty old as well and had the same 'skyscraper' look (but no windows). It was on metafilter, but I can't find a link. Anyone remember?

delmoi, you might be thinking of San Gimignano, in Tuscany.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:21 PM on August 27, 2007


I've always been a big fan of Arab architecture.
posted by desjardins at 5:03 PM on August 27, 2007


seconding delmoi - wow.
posted by vronsky at 5:38 PM on August 27, 2007




Haruspex, you probably read about the city on Thera/Santorini. From the Wikipedia page:

At Akrotiri there are multi-story buildings. This city may have had the earliest form of town planning (structured assembly of interconnecting roads and paths) ever discovered, again, with fresh running water and toilets in each house, leading to a sewer system. Many such sites have now been unearthed both on Crete and Santorini.
posted by D.C. at 5:48 PM on August 27, 2007


D.C., that's it — Santorini. Fantastically early, yet astonishingly developed, then destroyed in what must have been an incredible cataclysm. Certainly the story stuck with me, if only for my earnest appreciation for indoor plumbing.
posted by Haruspex at 6:51 PM on August 27, 2007


It's so weird--Scotland always says they invented tenements, but it's obviously not so.
posted by amberglow at 8:17 PM on August 27, 2007


A Flickr search turns up lots of photos too. Fascinating city. Too bad no pictures of the building interiors.
posted by msittig at 9:21 PM on August 27, 2007


Hey, whaddaya know--my great grandfather was from Yemen. I'm part Yemeni.:)

*beams with pride at his Yeminite heritage*
posted by hadjiboy at 9:33 PM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


those pictures are fucking gorgeous
posted by hadjiboy at 9:35 PM on August 27, 2007


Yemen has always had a good reputation, i think--a very interesting place overall (and pretty good for us Jews overall too for a long time)
posted by amberglow at 10:17 PM on August 27, 2007


Found a few pictures of the building interiors. Not terribly exciting.

HOWEVER - this is pretty interesting: INVENTORY OF TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION

sorry for the caps - cut & paste and it's late
posted by desjardins at 10:19 PM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Amberglow - are you Scottish and Jewish? Just wonderin' cuz, you know, I dont' often run into people with my unique ethnic mix.
posted by serazin at 12:08 AM on August 28, 2007


Fantastic post, thanks desjardins!
posted by carter at 5:35 AM on August 28, 2007


nope, serazin, but when i went to Scotland a few years ago, that stuck with me (bec i've pretty much grown up in tenements here in NY and still live in one)
posted by amberglow at 8:05 AM on August 28, 2007


I'll have to look more into the Scottish tenement thing. I'm sure my dad will have something to say about it.
posted by serazin at 12:10 PM on August 28, 2007


let me know...Edinburgh was said to have invented them is what i heard and read over and over -- although they were very common in the Old Town in Edinburgh from the 15th century where they reached ten or eleven storeys high
posted by amberglow at 5:14 PM on August 28, 2007


Hey amberglow (I'll just pretend we're having a personal phone call here), this is what my dad said:

It's true that 16th century Edinburgh had tenements. Some of them still exist. I doubt if they were a Scottish invention. In fact I think the Romans had them.
Kelso
[my dad's hometown on the borders south of Edinburgh] had them, still does I think. They were built by Hugenot refugees from Normandy who settled there for the wool trade.
Love, Pop


I love my dad - he's even nerdier than I am!
posted by serazin at 4:40 PM on August 29, 2007


that was fast! thanks! i don't think Romans had them first either (or maybe in their ghetto--like Venice's)

i think it was guidebooks or people there (or maybe at the tenement museum thing in Glasgow) who had told me they invented them.
posted by amberglow at 6:33 PM on August 29, 2007


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