Petit Futé's opinion on NIZWA STRONG
Masterfully renovated, the citadel of Nizwa is one of the most impressive and interesting in the country. The foundations of the present building date from the mid-17th century, when the fort was built at the instigation of Imam Sultan bin Saif Al Ya'rubi. Its construction lasted about 12 years, from 1649 to 1661, and the building subsequently underwent regular renovations and alterations over the centuries. Protected by a rampart, the entire structure comprises both a castle and a fortified tower, arranged side by side around a wide courtyard. The former served as a residence and a place for administrative services. The second was purely defensive. It is likely that the castle was built long before the tower. Strategically located in the heart of the city, the citadel allowed the surveillance of the inland trade routes, as well as the oasis and springs of the nearby mountains.
It served as a residence for lawyers, as well as for students from all over the sultanate studying Islam in Nizwa. In addition to its inner courtyard, it had a multitude of outbuildings which we visit today and which have preserved their furniture and ancient objects: prisoners' and students' rooms, prayer and discussion rooms, but also library, Koranic school, rooms for storing dates, etc., all renovated and well-documented spaces where one can learn more about life in the heart of the Omani forts.
As a complement to the visit, the former prison now houses an interesting collection of objects from the past, commented and illustrated by numerous didactic texts. There, in the labyrinth formed by the old cells, traditional costumes and jewellery, coffee pots and household utensils, old keys and locks, pots and baskets, various weapons, etc. are on display. One room is devoted to the aflaj system, another to the dyeing of indigo, and yet another to the history of the Sultanate since the formation of the Arabian Peninsula and in the light of world development (comparative frieze). It's well done and you come out richer than you entered, especially since the scenography is pleasant and the screens add liveliness to the whole by broadcasting short documentary films on the different themes presented. After this amount of information, you might be tempted to take a tea or coffee break in the coffee shop in the courtyard; unless you are going to storm the rooftops of the fortress, to take a picture of the dome and minaret of the superb adjacent mosque: one of the most prized views of the local painters and a choice photo, in an ochre-brown monochrome against a backdrop of mountains. From the citadel tower, a superb panorama embraces to the north the Jebel Akhdar, to the south the mud houses of the old city, to the east the souk and the mosque, to the west the oasis of Nizwa fed by the falaj Daris, one of the longest in the country. On the way down, other superb photo opportunities are offered to us. Since 2019, the courtyard of the citadel hosts a living museum. Under the arcades or in the shade of large tents, Omanis in traditional costumes reproduce the trades of yesteryear. The seamstress sector is particularly attractive, as it is a rare opportunity to take pictures of women in their colourful clothes.
Opening time and information on NIZWA STRONG
Open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm with a break from 11.30am to 1.30pm on Fridays. 5 SMO/adult. Guided tours every 30 minutes.
Members' reviews on NIZWA STRONG
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