Petit Futé's opinion on NAKHAL HISTORY
The Sultanate of Oman is renowned for its many forts, but the Sultanate of Nakhal stands out in particular. It is one of the largest and most beautiful in the country and, above all, one of the only ones built on an irregularly shaped rocky promontory. The foundations of the present building, like those of most Omani forts, are very old and date back to long before Islam. However, the foundations of the structure as it stands today date from three successive eras, during which the citadel was renovated and enlarged to its current surface area of 3,400 m²: the second half of the 17th century (a period of prosperity and relative calm under the powerful Ya'ariba dynasty, reigning from 1650 to 1744), 1834 and 1990.
Surrounded by a 30-metre-high wall and protected by six towers, the fort today forms a harmonious, well-appointed ensemble, evocative of past lifestyles. It has most of the characteristics of an Omani defensive building: its second entrance gate is surmounted by an opening through which guards poured hot oil on unwelcome visitors (remember to raise your head to observe this curiosity). There are two meeting rooms: one downstairs for the winter; the other upstairs for the summer, much cooler thanks to an ideal draught system during the hot season. They are decorated with painted beams (ornamental motifs and Koranic verses), chests and books, as in the past. The pieces of wood inserted in the wall were mainly used to hang weapons. The access doors were low, so that each visitor was obliged to bend down as a sign of humility and respect for the chief, the Wali. The fort also has two wells (one of which is on the roofs), two date storage rooms, two secret exits, a maze of rooms (including the Wali's private room with bed, chest, silver jewellery) and a multitude of stairs, as always.
The most courageous will be able, with precaution, to climb a makeshift ladder at the top of the east tower, from which a beautiful panorama of the palm grove and the foothills of the Hajar Mountains can be enjoyed. And gun enthusiasts will be pleased to find various weapons from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries on display in the middle tower. Also take the time to wander outside on the rooftops to appreciate the extent to which the fort follows the shape of the rock on which it was built and which dictated much of its architectural design.
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Opening time and information on NAKHAL HISTORY
Open from 9am to 4pm, and on Fridays from 8am to 11am. Entrance 500 BZ.