Friday, 18 September 2015

18 Of The Most Extraordinary Archaeological Sites In The Sultanate of Oman


Wondering what the most significant archaeological sites in Oman are? Do you want to discover spectacular "well worth a visit" archaeological sites in the Sultanate? 

For thousands of years, Oman has been a place of trading and encounters between the East and West ensuring a country with a rich and fascinating culture. Since ancient times, it has absorbed and given its own twist to traits and influences from India, Persia, Zanzibar, Portugal and the UK. 

Traces of the country's extraordinary heritage can be found in its archaeological sites, historical buildings, craftsmanship, clothing and cuisine. Visitors will find countless pleasant surprises - big and small - making a holiday in the Sultanate incredibly special.

A number of sites and cultural features in Oman have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. In this article, we'll show you 18 of the most extraordinary archaeological sites in the sultanate of Oman.

#1: Wadi Al Ayn Tombs
These tombs lie about 30 kilometres north-east of Bat settlement. The tower tombs are located on high rocky hills on the northern bank of the Wadi Al Ayn, where 21 tombs line up in an almost straight line. These tombs are of the same beehive style tombs as the Bat settlement and are also believed to date back to the third millennium BC.

#2: Al Manzafah
With its forts, towers and old buildings constructed from traditional Omani plaster and cement, contains inscriptions and decorations that are looked upon as a prominent cultural landmark.

#3: Bayt AlQefel (the lock house)
This type of house is common in Musandam Governorate. Bayt AlQefel represents a special kind of architecture that is a testimony to the old Omanis’ ingenuity and their adaptation to the conditions of the weather and life, and how they tamed the environment to suit their needs.

#4: Al Balid City
The Most Important Ancient Port on the Arabian Sea (Part of the Frankincense Trail) history dates back to before 2000 BC. Some archaeological research confirms that the city's prosperity dates back to the Iron Age. Much of this city’s remains lie in Dhofar Governorate.

#5: Bat Tombs and Settlement
Bat Tombs historical sites are located in Bat, Al Khutum and Al Ayn in A'Dhahirah Governorate in Wilayt Ibri. They are considered one of the archaeological and historical sites that date back to the third century BC and are located to the east of Ibri. In 1988, Bat Tombs was the second site to be included in the World Heritage list in Oman.

#6: Hasat Bin Salt
This is an ancient rock which has inscriptions and writings that date back to the dawn of history. This rock is reminiscent of the Rosetta Stone which was discovered in Egypt. Hasat Bin Salt is located in one of the most beautiful tourist areas in Wilayt Al Hamra in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate.

#7: Bawshar Tombs
The Tombs in Bawshar - located in Muscat Governorate- are distinguished by their circular shaped burial sites, lined with stones and covered with boulders. Researchers have put the age of these tombs at the second and first centuries BC. Many overlapping divided tombs have been found stretching to a length of 22 metres, dating back to the early Iron Age. This type of burial tombs is called honeycomb tombs.

#8: Hafeet Site
The site is located in Al Buraymi Governorate. It is an old settlement that dates back to the third millennium BC. This site was a meeting place for trade caravans between the Bat civilisation in Wilayt of Ibri, and the Um AnNar civilisation. Tombs in this region date to the third millennium BC and are built like the bee hive tombs of the Bat civilisation. 

#9: Jabal Hareem Fossils
Located at a height of 1,600 metres above sea level in Wilayt Khasab in the Musandam Governorate. The trip on the way up in the four-wheel drive pushing through mountainous villages, prairies planted with wheat and green valleys is an adventure itself, and the visitor will want to pause on the journey to take in the enchanting views.

#10: Kibaykib - AlJaylah Towers
The towers are located at an altitude of 2,000 metres above sea level in A'Sharqiyah South Governorate (Eastern Region). Around 90 towers were discovered still in good condition, and this is due to the durability of construction. They attain a height of 5 metres, with a 4 metre diameter.

#11: Old Muscat Gates
Comprise three main doors: Bab Al Mathaib, Bab Al Kabeer (The Big Door) and Bab Al Sagheer (The Little Door). Bab Al Mathaib is located in the western corner, below the Al Mirani Fort, and Bab Al Kabeer is located at the end of the western side of the walls and serves as the entrance to most roads leading to suburban Muscat and Mutrah City. Bab Al Sagheer lies in the mid-southern side and is considered one of the city’s main entrances.

#12: Qalhat & Bibi Mariam
In the past, Qalhat City has witnessed an ancient Omani civilisation, being Oman’s first capital before the advent of Islam. In the thirteenth century, it was the main commercial port linking Oman and abroad.

#13: Ras AlHadd Discoveries
Excavations in Ras Al Hadd and discoveries in the Wilayt Sur in A'Sharqiyah South Governorate (Eastern Region) reveal ruins that date back to the prehistoric period in the Sultanate of Oman. The building contains three rooms for two or three houses built round a small courtyard. It is believed that some relics found in this site may date back to the days of Mesopotamian civilisation. 

#14: Samharam
Located in Dhofar Governorate and is known to be part of the frankincense road. The location tells the story of an ancient civilisation in Dhofar, as Samharam city and its reputed port which history dates back to 1000 BC constituted a link between Dhofar and other parts of the world.

#15: Salut Archaeological Site
The historical significance of Salut is directly connected with the dawn of the Omani history, which first saw the light with the arrival of Arab tribes in Oman from different regions of the Arabian Peninsula. This site is witness to the beginning of settlements in Oman. Salut Archaeological Site is located on top of a rocky hill in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate. Ruins have been found that date back to the Iron Age between the period 1,400 to 600 BC.

#16: Shisr - Awbar
The ruins of Awbar lie in Dhofar Governorate. This city remained lost for centuries and was considered one of the mysterious archaeological secrets of the Middle East region. Lawrence of Arabia called it “the Atlantis of the Sands". Researchers believe that this city was built 5,000 years ago and played a prominent role in ancient times.

#17: Al Khutum "Al Wahrah"
This is located 2 kilometres south-west of the Bat settlement and includes a tower constructed during the third millennium BC on the top of a small hill. The tower is oval shaped and has two additional walls. Spreading over the hills surrounding the tower is a series of tombs dating to the third millennium BC.

#18: Zakeet Tombs
These tombs are located in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate. Historians say that they date back to the third millennium BC. The Ancient Zakeet Tombs lie on a cylindrical hill overlooking the village and consist of two walls of mountain rocks that resemble a beehive. The existence of these tombs on the hilltop led researchers to assume that the site was used as a fortress to repel invading armies.

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Written by: Oman Tourism UK. Official Account for the Oman Ministry of Tourism MBR in The UK & Ireland. Want to be part of our community? Connect with us!