The Dakhliyah region, in the Interior of
the Sultanate, plays a great historical role in the coming of Islam to Oman. At the heart
of the region lies the wilayat of Nizwa, which was a sanctuary for scholars and jurists,
and a stronghold for powerful leaders. Nizwa has been deemed the 'Pearl of Islam' due to
its restoration of the Islamic beliefs to the country, its seats of Islamic learning and
its schools of Islamic jurisprudence. From the adjacent wilayat of Sumail, Mazin bin
Ghaduba, the Companion of the Prophet Mohammed, (Peace Be Upon Him) travelled to Mecca to
embrace Islam. There are eight wilayats forming the Dakhliyah region.
Nizwa was host to the 24th
National Day celebrations in 1994, held in the Youth Complex that is located in Seih al
Kuds. The complex covers 443,000m2 and has capacity for 15,000 spectators.
Nizwa is a diverse, prosperous area, which has many agricultural, historical, governmental
and recreational aspects. Nizwa Fort, located in the town proper, is an imposing
structure; 24m high, with an external diameter of 43m and an internal diameter of 39m.
This was the headquarters of the ruler of Nizwa and was built by the Imam Sultan bin Saif
bin Malik al Ya'rubi. With its connections to the root of Islam, Nizwa has a number of
important mosques, such as Nizwa Mosque, a Friday mosque heralded as a 'beacon of
science'; So'al Mosque, built in the 2nd century AH; and the Al Shawadhana
Mosque which is located in the district of Aqr. The Nizwa souq is situated next to the
fort and was renovated in the 1990's, costing RO2.5million. The souq covers an area of
around 7600m2 and consists of separate buildings housing the likes of
vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, dates, spices and handicrafts. The design of the souq
compliments the fort in every way. It has been constructed using the same traditional
materials, such as sarooj, a gypsum material which is burnt until it turns brown. In 1993,
Nizwa won the 'Organisation of Arab Cities' award.
are around 90 afalaj in the area, the most important
being Falaj Daris. The Wadi Tanuf Dam, completed
in 1989, is designed to increase the supply of
subterranean water which feeds the afalaj of Daris
and Tanuf. The increased supply has led to an
expansion in the agricultural area. The dam is
135m long and is located on the watercourse of
Wadi Tanuf which is famous in the Middle East
for its mineral water.
Although Nizwa is a modern city, parts of
the wilayat, in particular, the Jebel al Akhdar region are still inaccessible. The
inhabitants of these areas receive provisions and building materials brought to them by
the Armed Forces. There is also a 'flying doctor' who provides medical services.
Wilayat Sumail was home to Mazin bin
Ghaduba, the first Omani to embrace Islam. He built the first mosque in Sumail, in 9th
century AH which is known as the Mosque of Mazin. Sumail contains many wadis, some of
which constitute the natural 'Sumail Gap' which divides the mountains into the Western
Hajar and Eastern Hajar ranges. There are around 190 afalaj which meander around green
oases and date plantations. Some of the best dates in Oman come from Sumail. There are a
number of different date palms grown here: Naghal; Fardh; Handhal; Khanizi; Mabsali; and
The wilayat of Bahla contains
Bahla Fort, a recently restored building which
has been listed by UNESCO on its list of World
Heritage and Culture Sites. The wilayat is surrounded
by a 15km wall. Also in the area is the imposing
Jibreen Fort, built by Imam Bal'arb bin Sultan
bin Saif Al Ya'rubi. Bahla's most famous industry
is pottery making. Bahla pots are found in homes
throughout the Sultanate and are a favourite souvenir
with tourists. The pots are still made in the
traditional manner. Intricate designs, some of
which have been passed on through the generations
and have local significance, are etched into the
necks and bodies of these pots.
Adam is approximately 295km from Muscat and
is the main entrance to the Dakhliyah from the south. Some say that the wilayat got its
name from adim al ardth, which means 'surface of the earth', or 'fertile land located in
the desert'. Archaeological exploration has revealed a number of significant sites, such
as the mosques of Al Jam'aa al Mahlabiya bint al Mahlab bin Abi Sufra and Al Rugha. Legend
and folklore surround this wilayat and stories are told time and again of 'Bani Rahu' - or
'the mosque which built itself'. The founder of the Al Bu Said Royal Family, Al Imam Ahmad
bin Said, was born in Adam. His house still stands to this day. There are three springs in
Adam, two at the foot of Jebel Salakh and the third located on the banks of Wadi Halfain.
Wilayat al Hamra is located
in the northwest part of Jebel al Akhdar. Musafa
al Abriin is an area of superb scenery, with agricultural
terraces cut into the mountains, and the peak
of Jebel Shams (mountain of the sun) soaring to
12,000ft. It is thought that the mountain received
its name because, during its creation, it was
first to receive the sun's rays in the morning
and the last rays at dusk. Lemons, dates, roses
and various vegetables are grown on the terraces.
Jebel al Akhdar is famous
for its rose water and oil. Rose
oil is obtained by distillation of the petals
and is highly prized. The oil is used in the Omani
fragrance, Amouage - 'the most valuable fragrance
in the world'.
The al Furs fort in the town of Ghul was
besieged by Malik bin Fahm. Unable to withstand the onslaught, the fort's inhabitants fled
to the mountains by the valley road, called Sanbak al Furs. This road is still rutted from
the ancient wooden wheels which once traversed this route.
The wilayat of Manah is thought to be the
first resting place of Malik bin Fahim al Azdi before the Arabs entered Oman when the
Maa'rab Dam in Yemen broke. A falaj in Manah still bears his name. In the old town, there
are many caves which were said to be hiding places during the war for women and children.
There is also a subterranean vault located in one of the ancient houses in Al Fiqin.
Legend surrounds the Az al Qadim mosque: it is said that a 100kg rock was moved by a
visitor to the mosque, which he took with him on his travels south. The next day, upon
waking, the man noticed the rock had gone, only to be found back in the mosque. The rock
still lies in the mosque and has the imprint of a man's foot on it. Sultan Qaboos' Royal
Camp for inspection of the region of Dakhliyah lies at Seih al Barakat in Manah.
Izki before the dawn of Islam was known as
Jarnan because of an idol (awthan) which was worshipped in a cave under Hilal Nazar. It
was a known meeting place for trade caravans and markets flourished. Testimony to its
prosperous era is found in the number of archaeological features. There are 142 towers and
three castles in the wilayat, together with ancient houses of historical importance, such
as Al Nazar Wa al Yaman.
The wilayat of Bidbid is the closest of the
Dakhliyah to Muscat, lying only 80km from the capital. There are 40 towers in the area,
the most famous being that in Fanja. Wadi Fanja often contains running water and is a
pleasant local picnic spot. Pottery and mats are handmade locally, the latter being woven
from the leaves and branches of the palm tree.
Al Buraimi Gov
Al Dakhiliyah Gov
Al Batinah N & S
Al Sharqiyah N & S
Al Dhahirah Gov
Al Wusta Gov