The Batinah Coast region runs from Khatma
al Malaha in the north, to Ras al Hamra in the Governorate of Muscat. The coastal plain is
approximately 25km wide and lies at the foot of the Western Hajar Mountains. After Muscat,
it is the most densely inhabited area in Oman. The Batinah has been cultivated for many
years with a variety of food crops. The area has a history of maritime and industrial
activity. Sohar, the main city of trade centuries ago, has a new port under construction,
being built at a cost of RO120million. The city is renowned for its
copper deposits, and archaeological
evidence points to copper extraction being carried out 5000 years ago. There are still
three copper mines in operation in Sohar with over 18 million tons of copper deposits. It
is an attractive region for tourists due to its clean, safe beaches and the plethora of
One of the first references to 'Sohar' is
in the work of historian, Yaqut al Hamawi who implies that the city took its name in the 6th
century AH from a descendent of Noah: Sohar bin Adam bin Sam bin Noah. When the
Palestinian Arab scholar Muqadisi visited the city in 10th century AH he
described it as a "flourishing city with a large number of people living there. It is
a beautiful city with a comfortable life,
and its mosque overlooks the sea
Mihrab (indicator of the direction for prayers) changes colour because it is covered in
The Sohar Fort is one of
the most prominent features in the city and was built between the 13th
and 14th century AD by the 'Emirs of Hormuz'. An escape tunnel
runs from inside the fort to the wilayat of Buraimi, 10km to the west.
It was used as a route to obtain reinforcements and supplies during sieges.
Sohar has many wadis with running water, such as Wadi Hibi, Wadi Ahin
and Wadi al Jizzi, and beautiful public parks. It is an area that is under
tourist development and a number of deluxe hotels have now been built.
The wilayat of Rustaq is in the Western
Hajar, at the south of the Batinah. Rustaq was once the capital of Oman, during the era of
Imam Nasir bin Murshid al Ya'arubi. Rustaq fort, built four centuries prior to the dawn of
Islam in Oman, is an imposing structure built on three levels, containing separate houses,
an armoury, a mosque and four towers. The tallest tower stands over 18.5m high and has a
diameter of 6m. Hazm Fort is an outstanding example of Omani Islamic architecture and was
built in 1711AD. The fort's roof is built on columns, and contains no wooden supports. Its
walls can withstand great impact, being no less than 3m thick.
Rustaq is an area
of healing, warm springs, the most notable being
Ain al Kasafa. Its water runs at 45degC and is
regarded as a cure for rheumatism and skin diseases
due to its sulphur content. There are three popular
wadis to visit: Wadi Bani Ghafar; Wadi al Sahtan
and Wadi Bani Auf. In addition, the mountains
are pitted with caves such as Al Sanaqha Cave
with its own subterranean springs. One of the
main occupations in Rustaq is beekeeping. Pure
Omani honey is a most sought-after commodity and
is of the highest quality. Fruits such as pomegranates,
apricots, plums and grapes are grown on the foothills
of Jebel al Akhdar and brought to Rustaq for sale.
Wilayat Shinas is the town furthest north
in the Batinah region. It has a number of castles and forts, such as Shinas fort and Rasa
al Malah castle. Shinas Park is notable for its forest of mangrove (qurum) trees and the
wadis of al Ghaliliya and al Aswad have been developed into tourist locations. Many fruits
and vegetables are grown in Shinas, such as bananas, mangoes, tomatoes and lemons.
Wilayat Liwa lies north of Sohar and has a
lively market place where local produce and fresh fish are sold. The fortress of Awla
Ya'rab, built of white clay, is located on the beach in the Harmul area. The area also has
a number of rural features such as springs, falaj and caves: Ain al Azam cave faces the
creek and is surrounded by mangrove trees, while Jebel Abu Kahif is home to some of the
largest caves in the wilayat.
Saham is located between the coast and the
Hajar Mountains and the wilayat has plenty of fresh running water and spectacular mountain
scenery. It is perhaps most famous for the area known as Seih al Taybat, which is where
His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos holds one of his royal camps whilst on his annual inspection of
the regions. The camps provide an opportunity for the residents of the region to discuss
their concerns for their towns and villages with the Sultan and listen to his advice and
directives. Saham is also famous for camel and horse racing, which are popular holiday and
Wilayat al Khaboura is a mountainous
region, which is honeycombed with caves, too numerous to name. It has a number of towers,
forts and castles, the most imposing being Bu Said castle. Sugar cane, wheat, dates and
cotton are grown in the wilayat and the main occupations of the inhabitants include
leather tanning, weaving and boat building.
The wilayat of Suwaiq is characterised by
its widespread agriculture. There are numerous plantations across the area where herbs,
bananas, mangoes and citrus fruits are grown. It is an area famous for bull fighting.
Suwaiq has its own forts and castles and four springs, the most scenic being located in
the area of Wadi al Jahawar.
Nakhl is located in the
south of the Batinah, at the foot of Jebel al
Akhdar in the Western Hajar Mountains. Upon entry
to Nakhl, the most prominent feature is the fort,
which is built on a 200m high craggy outcrop.
The fort has been extended over the centuries
and in 1990, was restored by Sultan Qaboos. There
are a number of hot springs in Nakhl, one of which
is situated close to the fort: Thuara spring is
a very popular location with locals and visitors
alike. It is a highly important source of water
to the residents of Nakhl, as it irrigates around
90% of the land. Wadi Abyad is in the wilayat
and contains deep, warm 'blue pools', so coloured
due to the mineral deposits in the water.
The main industry in the wilayat of Wadi
Ma'awal is pottery, which is still handcrafted. Safala fort is located in the town of Afi
and the wilayat has used it as its emblem. Other handicrafts in the area include palm
weaving, the most notable items made being fans.
Wilayat Awabi is a place of eminent
learning and has been home to many Omani scholars, poets and the literati. The Aliya
region has stunning natural scenery with towering mountains and deep valleys. The Aja
region is dotted with caves and secret passageways through the rocks, where ancient rock
art and writing is carved into the walls. Precious metals are still worked into exquisite
designs in Awabi; gold and silver jewellery is made in the traditional way, which is
popular with locals and tourists alike.
The wilayat of Masn'a is located on the
rich fertile plain of the Batinah Coast. It was once a popular market town and supplied
many of the neighbouring wilayats with various commodities. Due to its many sana
(industries), Masn'a received its name. Today, one of the main industries is cloth dying,
using the indigo plant. Other industries include making red sugar, ship and boat building
and sword making. Masn'a is one of the few wilayats which does not have any springs or
afalaj - except the remains of an ancient one which was dug in the era of Imam Sultan bin
Saif al Yar'ubi.
Barka is one of the historic cities on the
coast of Oman which flourished during the Ya'aruba and the Bu Said dynasties. It was an
area of export and received produce from the neighbouring wilayats to ship to India, Basra
and East Africa. Reminders of the prosperity of these times include Al Na'man Fort, built
by the Imam Saif bin Sultan al Ya'rubi (Qid al Ard), who planted 30,000 palm and coconut
trees around its walls. Al Sayid Sultan bin Ahmad built the garrison headquarters of Bait
al Falaj in the 19th century AD which is now the Armed Forces Museum.
region is home to some of the most beautiful long,
white beaches in the north of the Sultanate and
off this peninsula are the Dimaaniyat and Jun
Islands, which host many migratory birds and breeding
turtles. In breeding seasons, the islands are
prohibited to the public to avoid disturbing the
Naseem Park is located on the outskirts of
the wilayat and is adored by children for its playground, theme gardens, privet maze and
Al Buraimi Gov
Al Dakhiliyah Gov
Al Batinah N & S
Al Sharqiyah N & S
Al Dhahirah Gov
Al Wusta Gov