Existing forts in Oman offer diverse glimpses of a powerful, wealthy Arabian culture living in turbulent times at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. Largely clustered in the northern one-third of the country, these often-enormous
The dizzying heights of many Omani forts and the complexity and weight of fortifications is a clear reminder that here were not nomadic herders, but some of the finest architects and engineers of their times and ours. Each fort in Oman has distinctive engineering and architectural features that make it a physical challenge and an education to visit today. Be prepared for plenty of climbing up and down steps in your exploration of these enormous structures.
Al Jalali FortAl Jalali Fort lies in old Muscat and overlooks the Sea of Oman. It is also known as the Ash Sharqiya Fort. Some say that the fort's name origin is "Al Jalal", meaning "great beauty", while others say the name is that of the Persian leader "Jalal Shah".
The fort consists of two towers connected by a wall punctuated by holes for cannons. The building is completely isolated and cannot be accessed from its rocky façade; instead there is a small bridge and stairway ending at one of the holdouts for safe exit. Visitors can only view the castle from the outside.
Al Mirani FortAl Mirani Fort lies in old Muscat and overlooks the Sea of Oman. It is also known as Al Gharbiya Fort as it commands a view of a high rocky hill at the end of the west wall. It can be reached by climbing a flight of stairs carved into the rock.
Some say that the fort's name was originally "mirante", a Portuguese word meaning "Admiral", while others say that the fort was named after a Persian leader by the name of "Miran Shah".
At the base of the hill a large dock was built, and visitors can only view the castle from the outside.
Bahla FortBahla Fort lies in Wilayt Bahla in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate. Since 1987, its name has been included in the World Heritage Sites List. Bahla Fort includes: Bahla Oasis with its traditional souks, old alleys, ancient mosques, and its wall that extends over a distance of approximately 13 kilometres and whose construction dates back to the pre-Islamic era.
Originally, Bahla Fort was built in the third millennium BC. The length of its South façade is about 112 kilometres, while its eastern façade is about 114 metres. It is evident that the Bahla Wall, which extends over a distance of 12 kilometres, with its terraces, apertures for opening fire and guardhouses, was designed for defence purposes.
Al Fiqayn FortAl Fiqayn Fort lies in Wilayt Manah in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate. It consists of four storeys through which the visitor can see the old quarters and surrounding farms. Al Fiqayn Fort is located in the centre of Al Fayqayn Village, characterised by its unique architectural design.
Prevalent in Wilayt Manah is the Al Matek bush which is used in manufacturing indigo colour, used in old times to dye clothes and to extract some traditional anti-toxin medicines. Wilayt Manah has made the Al Matek its logo.