The College Social Committee and the Ministry of Tourism in Oman organized a day trip to Jabrin Castle, Bhala Fort and a traditional village near Bahla last weekend for the teachers at my college.
The only way for me to enjoy sightseeing trips is to get up really early and workout so that I won’t feel guilty about not exercising. So, last Saturday, I started my long run in the dark so that I could complete at least 4 miles and still have enough time for stretching before walking to the Al Diyar hotel to meet the tour bus at 8 o’clock.
Thirty minutes later we arrived at our first destination – Jabrin Castle.
This is an impressive three-storey fort built by Imam Sultan bin Saif Al Ya’arubi in the 17th century to protect Oman’s ruling Imam and provide suitable accommodation for him. Today, the castle is home to the tomb of the Iman.
The castle is famous for its painted ceilings and Koranic verses that are beautifully carved on the walls.
It has two huge towers with walls that are about two meters thick. There are numerous chambers, dungeons, passages, stairways, courtyards, and lookouts on each level.
I am certain that the Iman and his family must have enjoyed their life in such a spacious home with its beautiful views of the surrounding date plantations and mountains.
After visiting the castle we had a short break for snacks prepared for us by our Omani hosts and then we were off to the town of Bahla, a place steeped in myths and ancient legends. It is also home to Bahla Fort and its 7-mile Wall which UNESCO has added to its World Heritage list. The fort was constructed in the 17th and features six large towers and the oldest citadel in Oman.
On our way to Bahla we drove up to a lookout point on the top of a hill and stopped to photograph the fort and town from above. The view was magnificent. The town with its ancient mud houses, palm trees and majestic mountains in the background is a photographers dream. I can’t do it justice with my pocket camera.
Our last stop was a visit to a historical village located a few kilometers from Bahla Fort. The village grounds showcase several historical objects including pottery, brass and other ancient products which represent Omani history. It also includes restaurants, meeting rooms, guest rooms and a large community room for special events such as weddings or other parties.
Our tour ended with a meal, followed by tea in the community room and distribution of t-shirts and a CD from the Oman Ministry of Tourism.