Mud Brick Buildings Around The World

Here are some of the most known mud brick buildings around the world


Nicknamed the “Manhattan of the desert”, Shibam is a town in Yemen featuring unique 16th-century high-rise apartment buildings. The tower houses, some 16 stories tall and up to 40 meters high and made out of mud bricks, were built to protect the citizens from Bedouin raids. The mud buildings have to be maintained and frequently renovated by the inhabitants in order to protect them from rain and erosion.

mud brick buildings

Ait Benhaddou

Aït Benhaddou is a historic ighrem or ksar along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh in Morocco. It is considered a great example of Moroccan earthen clay architecture and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

mud brick buildings

Great Mosque of Djenne

The Great Mosque of Djenné is a large brick or adobe building in the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style. The mosque is located in the city of Djenné, Mali, on the flood plain of the Bani River. The first mosque on the site was built around the 13th century, but the current structure dates from 1907.

mud brick buildings

Siwa Oasis

The Siwa Oasis is an urban oasis in Egypt between the Qattara Depression and the Great Sand Sea in the Western Desert, 50 km east of the Libyan border, and 560 km from Cairo

mud brick buildings

Bobo Dioulasso Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso is a mosque in Bobo-Dioulasso, Houet Province, Hauts-Bassins Region, Burkina Faso.

mud brick buildings

Chan Chan

Chan Chan is a pre-Colombian city and archaeological site near Trujillo on northern Peru’s desert coast. It was the seat of the ancient Chimú civilization before it fell to the Incas. The vast adobe complex has citadels, including the partially restored Tschudi Palace. It also encompasses temples, plazas and cemeteries. The Museo de Sitio Chan Chan displays stone artifacts, ceramics and history exhibits.

mud brick buildings

Khiva Wall

Khiva is actually a collection of mosques and madrasahs, found in the Kyzylkum desert of Uzbekistan. First constructed 2,500 years ago, purportedly by Shem, Noah’s oldest son, the ancient city was called Ichon-Qala (meaning within the wall). Ichon-Qala is encompassed by Khiva’s Wall, a 10 meter (33 ft) high rampart made of high quality clay. The clay was mined from a lake shore in Ghovuk Kul. It is said that Mohammed built Medina using clay mined from the same location.


Djinguereber Mosque

The Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali is a famous learning center of Mali built in 1327, and cited as Djingareyber or Djingarey Ber in various languages. Its design is accredited to Abu Ishaq Al Saheli who was paid 200 kg of gold by Musa I of Mali, emperor of the Mali Empire.


Arg-e Bam

The Arg-e Bam, located in the city of Bam, Kerman Province of southeastern Iran, is the largest adobe building in the world. The entire building was a large fortress containing the citadel, but because the citadel dominates the ruins, the entire fortress is now named Bam Citadel.


Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people. It lies about 1 mile north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico. The pueblos are considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.


Bugshan Palace

Bugshan Palace; Hadramaut in Yemen. Built of mud in 1798 CE, the palace consists of eight floors arranged in an area of 800 square meters.

Image Credit: Eric Lafforgue

Sanaa’s historic mud-brick buildings

Beehive Houses Harran, Turkey

Made entirely of mud or clay bricks, these buildings are designed to fence off searing heat and retain cool air. The dome-like structure topped with an opening is also functional, as hot air collects in the upper part of these houses and escapes through the aperture. The beehive shape of these abodes allows them to withstand earthquakes, violent wind storms, and seasonal heavy rains, which explains why they are still in use these days, thousands of years later.