Since the fifteen century, Shihr, a port-city of the Southern Arabian coast, has been considered an essential center of trade and commerce in Yemen. Perhaps for this reason, it has been sought and controlled under a number of governments; Shihr was captured from the Tahirids by the Kathiri sultans in 1462, and was subject to skirmishes for the control of the city, particularly through out the sixteenth century, in addition to raiding and pillaging. 

The city was anchored by two citadels, which served as gateways for northern and western entry. The old city was encircled by a wall, though it was expanded beyond with new city quarters, constructed under 'Abdullah bin 'Umar, and designed by al Ju'aydi, beginning in 1867. The coastal edge of the city have historically remained open, and unobstructed to support maritime activities. The city hosts several strong examples of defensive architecture, including free-standing, circular fortifications, known as nubah, as well as the Tabalah fort of Al al Shaykh b. Ali (Hahari). Distinctive to much of the architecture, as well as the region, is construction encased within lime plaster, called nurah, giving the buildings a characteristic, white coating. This is the case for the city's iconic gateways, including the northern gateway which was restored in the Northern Gateway Restoration Project, led by Ubud Bin Mubarak Ba Ma'Rifah, in 1983. Included among the important architectural heritage of the city are the Al Aydarus Mosque, dating back to at least the tenth century, as well various examples of vernacular architecture, particularly the homes of merchant families, like the Ba Shrahil House, a nineteen century home, notable for its intricate wooden carpentry, apparent in its ceiling ornamentation and window screens. 

Damluji, Salma Samar. The Architecture of Yemen: From Yafi to Hadramut. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2007.

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