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Musandam Governorate

    Governorate of Musandam lies in extreme north of the Sultanate. It is separated from the rest of the Sultanate by a strip of UAE land. Its rough mountains rise to 1800 metres above sea level.

    Governorate of Musandam is distinguished for its strategic location, with part of it known as Ras Musandam - overlooks the international water passage called the Strait of Hormuz.

    It is worth noting that not the whole of the Strait is good for navigation. The part suitable for sea navigation falls within the territorial waters of the Sultanate, which made Omanis shoulder a huge responsibility in organizing navigation in this Strait since the old ages. The strategic importance of this Strait has increased nowadays, as it turned to be a crossing point to 90% of the Gulf's oil shipped to all over the world.

    Governorate of Musandam consists of four wilayats: Khasab. bukha, Daba Al Bayah and Madha. Khasab town is the regional center of the Governorate located 481 kilometers from the capital Muscat.

      Wilayat Khasab is situated in the north corner of the governorate. It has taken its name from the fertility of its soil, and it has a port (Khasab port). As regards Wilayat Daba AI Bayah, it is situated in the south east of Musandam. Its inhabitants depend on  fishing, agriculture and ship building.

Tourist attractions

Wilayat khasab

     The Wilayat of Khasab is located in the furthest north of the Governorate of Musandam. It lies between the two Wilayats of Dibba and Bukha, overlooking the Gulf of Oman in the east and the Arabian Sea in the north west. It also overlooks the Straits of Hormuz, the strategic waterway through which 90% of the oil production of the Gulf region passes to the international consumers.  This area of the Gulf has a tortuous fjord-like coastline.

      It contains about 136 villages on the coasts and in the mountains. Its name is attributed to the fertility (khasab) of its rich land with its fresh subterranean water, which flows down through the great wadis when rain falls.

      There are a number of castles, forts and towers. The castle of Khasab dates back to the beginning of the era of Al Busaid. It was renovated at the beginning of 1990 by the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture.

       The exact date of construction of Khasab Al Kamazara is not known, it is located in the village of Al Kamazara. There are also three towers, Al Siba which is located in the place of the same name, the tower of Kabas Al Qasr - of which only ruins remain, and the tower of Said Bin Ahmad Bin Sulaiman Aal Malik, which is located in Bani Sanad. It is all that remains of a huge fort which, with the passing of time, has fallen into oblivion.

     There are also old mosques, such as Al Siba which is called 'the western mosque' it was restored in 1980. The two mosques of 'Al Suq and Al Kamazara were also restored during the era of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.

     There are many tourist attractions in Al Rouda and Al Khalidiya, in addition to Wadi Khan, Masifah, Hiyut and Khur Najd. There are also a number of bays and gulfs and islands. The most important are Khalij Khasab, Khalij Kamzar, Khalij Shisa, Khur Sham, Khur Al Need, Khur Hablain, Khur Qabl. Khur Ghab and Khur Qadi. The most important islands are Al Ghanam, Musandam, Um Al Tair, Salama and its girls, Um Al Fayarin, Al Khail, Makhbook, Abu Makhalif, Sawik (Al Suda).

Wilayat Bukha

      Located on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, on the west side of the Wilayat of Khasab it neighbours the Emirate of Ras Al Khaima in the west. It contains approximately 86 villages.

     There are a number of touristic attractions. The fort of Al Bilad, in the centre of the Wilayat was built in 1250 AH. There is also the fort of Al Qala'a, located on a mountain top which can be clearly seen from all over the Wilayat; also a .ruined mosque in the west of the Wilayat, together with two castles and a spring in the village of Al Jadi. There are also many caves in the mountains.

Wilayat Dibba

      It is located in the south east of the governorate, to the north and west are mountain ranges linking it to the other parts of the region, in the east is the Gulf of Oman, and in the south the U.A.E. It contains about 114 villages.

    Al Asma'i says that it was one of the Arab markets in Oman. The Muslims conquered it in the era of the Caliph Abu Bakr Al Sadiq in the 11th year of the Hijra. Ka'ab Bin Suar Bin Bakr is one of the region's famous men, a leader and a scholar, he became Judge of Basra during the era of the Caliph Omar Bin Al Khatab, and Al Muhallab Bin Abi Sufra, was a leader of the Muslim armies at the time of the Umayya State.

     In the modern era Sheikh Salih Bin Mohammed Al Kamzari Al Shahi is famous, and was mentioned in the book "Dangers of Exploration in the Arabian Peninsula" by William Thomas.
One of the historical features of the Wilayat of Dibba is the castle called 'Al Siba' which was restored in the age of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. There is also the castle of 'Sabtaan' and the cemetery known as the Cemetery of Amin Al Jaish which is attributed to the wars of apostasy.
Another of its tourist features are the vast 'fjords' known as the Gulf of Al 'Gabaiyain in which the fishermen take refuge during storms at sea. The most important of these 'fjords' are Khur Ma'ali and Almim. There is also a spring called 'Al Saqata" as well as a number of vast caves in the mountains.

Wilayat Mudha

      Located in the north of the Sultanate it neighbours the Emirate of Ras Al Khaima in the west, the Emirate of Sharjah in the north and the Emirate of Fujairah in the South. IIt contains about 10 villages. Human settlement there goes back more than 3,500 years. There are many ancient rock paintings, making it into a natural museum, with drawings which go back to before Islam. There are also paintings and writings which go back to the first centuries of the Hijra. In addition there are a number of ruins which date back to the Iron Age and the years between 1000 and 1500 years B.C.

     The Wilayat is famous for a number of secret storage places, beneath the earth, which the people there call "Makhazan Al Jahal". In addition there is an abundance of graves, the most outstanding being the one of Hajar Bani Humaid which has paintings on its white marble tombstone together with the names of the dead. There are also a number of  forts, castles and towers in Mudha, Al Ghuana and Hajar Bani Humaid scattered on the mountain tops.

     The Wilayat is distinguished geographically by its mountainous nature. It is one of the Omani Wilayats that is irrigated with afalaj and springs; the most outstanding of its falaj is called Al Sheikh Mohammed Bin Salim Al Madhani, its water is cold in the summer and warm in the winter. The afalaj of Al Dair, Al 'Aadad, Al Shariki, Al Muatarad, Al Qaba, Al Ruman, Al Suduq and Al Saruj are other important afalaj. The springs are Al Shariki, Lishmah, Hajar Bani Humaid and Al Samaai, which has sulfurous water - hot in winter and cold in summer. The people of the area use this spring to treat skin diseases.

    There are also caves and mountain grottos and trees called "Al Rula" which are distinguished by their great size and age.

Traditional occupations

Wilayat khasab

     There are a number of occupations, industries. The principal occupation is fishing followed by animal husbandry, and agriculture - the production of dates, lemons, fruit, vegetables and animal fodder.

    The traditional industries are making fishing nets, weapons (known as Jarz), pottery, weaving palm leaves, ship building and weaving.

Wilayat Bukh

     The most important occupations are blacksmithery and agriculture,producing dates, citrus fruit and fruit. The traditional industries are making small fishing boats, fishing nets and handicrafts from palm leaves.

Wilayat Dibba

     The principal occupation is fishing then agriculture - growing dates, citrus fruit and fruit, in addition to practicing animal husbandry. The most important traditional industries are small ship building, iron working, weaving palm leaves and weaving.

Wilayat Mudha

     The Wilayat of Mudha has numerous occupations, industries. Agriculture is at the forefront of the occupations, the most important crops being dates, fruit, citrus fruit, vegetables and wheat, in addition to pasturage and animal husbandry. The most important of the traditional industries are rope making, mats made from palm leaves, sewing, and embroidery etc.

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