My recent road trip in Oman leads me to discover the exquisite city of Nizwa. Positioned in the northern region of this magnificent country, this city boasts of antiquity, art, science and culture. The city interestingly is the former capital of the nation and has always worked as an intersection between the rocky terrain of the Hajar mountains and the low-lying areas of the Omani coastline.
The city of Nizwa is a popular destination for tourists as it houses an important part of Omani architecture, the Nizwa fort. This fortification took over 12 years to build during the 17th century and was a significant asset to the Yarubid dynasty. Why an asset? because the sole purpose of this construction was to protect the natation-state from aggressors in order to safeguard the people’s wealth as well as strategic trade routes. They in turn did manage to banish the Portuguese invaders that had made their way into the country, with the help of this defence structure and finally united the nation once and for all. The best feature of this monument is the castle adjacent to it, so the fort and the castle are in the same compound. The castle offers a good mix of exhibition halls as well as tool displays that were used during that time. For instance, a coffee roasting room, a traditional style kitchen, a date storage room, hammam room, escape passageway (escape route for the ruling Imam at that time), meeting and study halls etc. The fort is centrally located in the city and is characterized by vibrant souqs (markets) nearby. The fort tower gives the visitor an insight into the mechanisms which were used in the olden times to stop intruders from entering inside. A classic example of this would be the free – falling man holes or pitfalls created, masked excellently by trap doors. At the top of the circular tower, you get panoramic views of the city and a haven of date palms brought to life by the Falaj Daris, the main irrigation system in Oman currently.
Post my stopover at the fort, I make my way to the local souqs. The old Souq served as a hotspot for trade during the ancient times and continues to do so till now. It is neatly divided into distinct sections (East Souq, West Souq etc.) so one can navigate easily and not get lost about. The Souq caters to all kinds of tourists, you will get everything from local spices, traditional ware, food, perfumes, souvenirs, silver jewellery and old-fashioned pottery.
ANTIQUE INN HOTEL
A good spot to head over for lunch, I would highly recommend would be the “antique inn hotel”, barely 200 meters away from the fort, here you can feast on local delicacies such as “kabsa”, a delectable saffron rice preparation slow cooked with meat, or get your hands on some local kebabs and “om ali” an old-style bread and milk pudding which is made of crispy pastry, milk, sugar and nuts. Here you can also savour some fresh and dry dates paired with Arabic coffee. The traditional style seating makes the meal experience worthwhile.
How you can book your tour
Best way to Reach: Fly Oman Air Business Class, incredibly comfortable, great food and very hospitable staff. it’s extremely inexpensive if booked in advance.
Best Way to Move around in Oman: Book Nomad Tours for a classic tour or you can even get it custom made as per your preference. Call :+968 99630834 /+96896939337. E-Mail- [email protected] /[email protected]