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Nizwa Fort and Souq

The Nizwa Fort is a large castle in Nizwa, Oman built in the seventeenth century. It is a popular tourist destination.

Nizwa Fort is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Oman due to the fact that it is an amazing example of old Omani architecture that provides an illustration of the way Omani people used to live in ancient times. The oldest part of Nizwa Fort was originally constructed by imam Al Sult bin Malik Al Kharusi in the ninth century and was later renovated by imam Sultan bin Saif Al Yarubi in the 17th century. Imam Sultan bin Saif Al Yarubi is known as the imam responsible for removing the Portuguese from Oman.

History of Nizwa Fort

It was built in the 1650s by the second Ya’rubi ; Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’rubi, although its underlying structure goes back to the 12th century. It is Oman’s most visited national monument. The fort was the administrative seat of authority for the presiding Imams and Walis in times of peace and conflict. The main bulk of the fort took about 12 years to complete and was built above an underground stream. The fort is a powerful reminder of the town’s significance through turbulent periods in Oman’s long history. It was a formidable stronghold against raiding forces that desired Nizwa’s abundant natural wealth and its strategic location at the crossroads of vital routes.

Nizwa Fort is unique among other forts in Oman due to the cylindrical shape of its main tower which also happens to be the biggest to tower in a fort in Oman. Nizwa Fort has seven wells, a number of prisons, and prosecution ground. The main tower features many defense mechanisms Omanis used in the past such as pitfalls, honey traps, and gun shooting windows.

Nizwa Fort is probably the best destination to visit for anyone wishing to explore how Omani used to be like in the old times and is one examples of how life still remains somewhat unchanged in villages outside the capital. Nizwa is about an hour from Muscat and can be done as a day trip that includes a visit to Nizwa Souq, Misfat Al Abriyeen, or any of the many other destinations in the interior of Oman.

History of Souq

The site of one of the oldest souqs in the country, this extensive marketplace is dedicated mostly to fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, all of which are housed in separate blocks behind the great, crenellated piece of city wall that overlooks the wadi. Part of the souq (nearest the fort) is dedicated to handicrafts and caters specifically to the passing tourist trade.

You’ll have to try hard to find a bargain for antiques and silver, but local craftsmanship is good. Nizwa is particularly famous for crafting the silver khanjar (traditional curved dagger). Today Indian or Pakistani silversmiths often work under an Omani master-craftsman, especially for pieces designed for tourists, but the workmanship is often exquisite. Prices range from OR50 for a tourist piece to well over OR500 for an authentic piece.

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