Mubarak Bin Basel in Oman

A desert passageway flanked by rough calcified mountains only interrupted by scarce villages, palm colonies, and lesser towns led me from the most Western part of the Sultanate of Oman to the city of Ibri, from where I hunted the abandoned archaeological sites of Bat, Al-Khutm, and Al-Ayn.

Following the plain discovery, I dug my way out of A’ Dhahira govern-orate to Bahla, a magnificent town with an adobe fortress that successfully abandoned the UNESCO list of endangered sites in 2004 after a commendable fourteen years and nine million dollars restoration process undertaken by the Sultanate. However, to my uttermost disappointment, public opening is apparently restricted to Fridays and Saturdays, few morning and afternoon hours.


Calling to my mind Sir Wilfred Thesiger‘s near-spiritual contentment, I hardly sped my Lancer towards Nizwa, with the desire to uncover an ancient engineering wonder: the two-thousand years old Afalaj irrigation system. Beneath a hard-biting sun I promenaded along the Falaj Daris, dipping my feet into a crystal clear water stream that chilled my condition and thoughts.


Upon restoration of my vital signs I proceeded to abandon the city and the A’ Dakhliyah govern-orate, although a last-minute bastioned surprise kept me wandering through the “Pearl of Islam” and its remarkable (Nizwa) Fort. The fortification was commissioned in mid xvii century by the Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’rubi. From the top of its 36 metre diametre drum-like tower I could gaze around and admire the souq, the So’al Mosque, and the Jabal al Akhadar or “Green Mountain,” described by Mubarak Bin London as his hideout during the 1948 journey. The Imam allowed him harmlessly to continue the trip, but not to reach any close to the town and its splendid fortress. This time, Mubarak Bin Basel beat him to the punch!

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7 Responses to Mubarak Bin Basel in Oman

  1. Ah, too bad you didn’t make it to Bahla Fort on its opening day. The renovation is quite amazing inside. 🙂

    • manila6 says:

      I’ve got one more reason to go back to Bahla, although I wouldn’t need too many reasons. It is a very special land.

      • Are you living in Oman, or just visiting? I’m no longer living there, but I did so for two years. 🙂

      • manila6 says:

        Wish I could live in Oman for a couple of years. Although Muscat seemed to me a bit too comfy for a Nomad 🙂

      • I agree, Muscat is way too comfy for a nomad. Lucky for me, I lived in Nizwa, not Muscat, so I was right in the thick of all the mountains and wadis and many great things to explore. I believe I saw more of Oman than most Omanis did, at least according to my students. I really was a true nomad there. 🙂

      • manila6 says:

        I was impressed by the local kindness in Nizwa, in addition to their cultural heritage. I am very curious about Salalah, and would love to peek into the Empty Quarter from Oman. You are lucky to have had such an enriching experience, and to read your posts is engaging.

      • Yes, Omanis can be very kind, that’s for sure. It’s great that Oman has preserved its cultural heritage, and I really hope they continue to do so. Salalah was interesting too, you can do a search on my blog and find my posts about that and the Empty Quarter. I admit, I was REALLY lucky to have had the experience of living in Oman. It’s something I’ll hold dear for the rest of my life. 🙂

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