28 Oct NIZWA & A’DAKHILIYAH GOVERNORATE
Distance from Muscat approx. 170 km driving through mountainous zig zag roads with average drive time – 2½ hours.
Nizwa, the verdant oasis city with its blend of the modern and the ancient was the capital of Oman during the 6th and 7th century. One of the oldest cities of the Sultanate, this was once a center of education and art. Nizwa has been an important cross roads at the base of the Western Hajar Mountains connecting Muscat, Buraimi, and the lower reaches of Dhofar. The Falaj Daris of Nizwa is the largest single falaj in Oman and provides the surrounding country side with much needed water for the plantations.
The city is famous for its historical monuments, handicrafts and agricultural products, has an expansive Souq showcasing a wonderful array of handicrafts – coffee pots, swords, leather goods, silverware, antiques, and household utensils. Nizwa fort, completed in the 1650’s, was the seat of power during the rule of the Al Ya’ruba dynasty and is Oman’s most visited National monument. The reconstructed Sultan Qaboos Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Oman. In the evenings, the call of the muezzin fills the air calling the faithful to prayer.
A few kilometers from Nizwa lies the mysterious town of Bahla. Bahla is the home of myths and legends that have carried through the centuries. Some people today still believe that magic is afoot in Bahla and many Omanis are superstitious when it comes to talking about Bahla. This little town is famous for its pottery. The old Bahla fort with its 12 km wall is the oldest fort in Oman. The fort is believed to have been built in pre-Islamic times and is now undergoing reconstruction sponsored by UNESCO and the site is included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage monuments. A short distance beyond Bahla lies the Castle of Jabreen. This massive three-storied was also built during Al Ya’ruba dynasty of the mid 1600’s. It is a fine example of Islamic architecture with beautiful wooden inscriptions and paintings on the ceilings. Other interesting locales between Nizwa and Bahla are the 400-year-old village of Al Hamra and the mountainside village of Misfah Al Abreen.
A’Dakhiliyah Governorate has played a role of great significance in Oman’s history, particularly with regard to the spread of Islam in Oman. Nizwa, the capital of Oman in the early days of Islam, was the cradle of ardent intellectual activity and produced generations of Omani scientists, scholars and historians. That’s why it has been called “the egg of Islam”. Its towering historic castle still stands today as well as many forts, castles, ancient mosques and other beautiful tourist sites. Nizwa District is also famous for its many old houses.
A’Dakhiliyah Governorate has played a significant role in linking the coast to the interior of Oman, as it was the main trade route and the meeting place of caravans for many centuries.
A’Dakhiliyah Governorate occupies a distinctive location on the western slopes of Al Hajar Mountains (the slopes of Al Jabal Al Akhdhar) towards the desert in the south.
Beyond Nizwa, the southern flanks of the Western Hajar Mountains can be readily seen rising over 2000 metres above the surrounding countryside. Within these mountains, rugged networks of wadi channels have carved networks of dramatic canyons and caves. The most fertile of these have been cultivated by the hardy shuwawis, mountain people, who have adapted to this harsh lifestyle under the tropic sun. At Wadi Tanuf, the ever-flowing springs are tapped to produce a commercially popular brand of drinking water. In Al Hamra, 400 year-old mud houses are still standing and occupied to this day. Out along the nearby wadi at Hasat bin Sult Rock, ancientpetroglyphs estimated to be over 3000 years old lie in wait.The dark reaches of the Falahi/Hoti cave system await intrepid spelunkers.
AlHoota Cave, Bahla Fort , Bahla Souq, Bayt Ar Rudaydah Castle, Grand Canyon, Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain), Jabreen Castle, Misfat Al Abriyeen, Nizwa City, Nizwa Fort and Nizwa Souq.
For day trips, lunch is included.
Package includes four wheel drive (Land Cruiser or equivalent) for maximum of four persons with an English speaking driver.
Package cost doesn’t include room rates.
Multilingual guide and accommodation available on request with additional cost.