Forts & Castles
Nakhl Fort is within an hour’s drive of Muscat and provides a morning of sight-seeing. The fort is 350 years old and is set in a gorge, surrounded by a mountain enclave. In 1990, sympathetic restoration work began, using traditional building materials and period furnishings. The carved master gate is believed to date back to the 1830’s during the reign of Sayyid Said bin Sultan.
Al-Jalali Fort perches on top of a rock on the eastern side of the old harbour of Muscat, overlooking the majestic Al-Alam Palace. Its name is thought to be derived from the Persian name Jalal.
The fort was originally built in the early 16th century by the Portuguese captain Melkior Calaca, with more fortifications and towers being added towards the latter half of the century. Upon its capture by Omani forces in 1650, it was gradually strengthened and rebuilt into its present form.
Al-Jalali is fortified by two towers, connected by a long wall with cannon slits. Rainwater was collected in a reservoir. Apart from access over a small bridge and stairway next to one of its towers, the fort is entirely cut off and cannot be reached by land.
The impregnable Fort of Al-Mirani tops the western rocks of Muscat Bay, flanking Al-Alam Palace. It is thought to be named after one of its Portuguese inhabitants.
The fort was originally built in the early 16th century by the Portuguese, who used it as their major headquarters during the 60 years of their occupation of Oman. Towards the latter half of the century, they added more fortifications and towers to the fort. In 1610 a dock was constructed at the base of the fortification, equipped with a low-level battering ram to repel attacks from passing ships. In 1650, Omani forces expelled the Portuguese, and gradually rebuilt and strengthened the fort into its present form.
Nizwa Fort, (A’Dakhliyah) built by Imam Sultan bin Saif al Ya’arubi in 1668, is the biggest fort in the Arabian Peninsula with an exterior diameter of its circular structure of 150 feet, and over 115 feet high. The fort was once used as the Imam’s headquarters and is a stronghold designed to withstand some of the most aggressive sieges.
Main feature is its 7-mile long walls which were patrolled by sentries night and day. The Fort’s internal staircases and walls were built of mud, coated with gypsum and sarooj (a traditional type of mortar) which are as hard and solid as present-day cement. UNESCO has approved Bahla Fort and Wall for inclusion in its World Heritage List.
Located opposite to the seacoast in Welayat Khasab in the north of Oman. It consists of four buildings surrounded by a wall and it was built in the sixth century A.D. The Ministry restored it in 1989.
Jabrin Fort was built by Imam Sultan bin Saif Al Ya’arubi in 1670 as a defensive stron and as living accommodation for the Imam. It has rooms and ceilings decorated with fine carvings. It has two huge towers with walls two metres thick.it was built by Bil’arab bin Sultan, an Imam of the Ya’aruba dynasty during the 17th century. It is one of the most impressive forts in the Sultanate and the details and carvings in the rooms and balconies are most elaborate Finely painted flowers and symbols are found on the ceilings in the ‘living’ rooms. The tomb of Imam Bil’arab remains within the fort.
Al Hazm Castle
Located in Al Hazm town in Welayat Rustaq. It was built by Imam Sultan bin Seif (the 2nd.) in (1123 A.H.–1711 A.D.) when he established Al Hazm town as a capital of Oman instead of Rustaq. The Castle is distinctive from other Omani Castle and forts by its magnificent shape and massive building. It contains the tomb of its builder / Imam Sultan bin Seif (the 2nd.). It was restored by the Ministry in ( 1416 A.H. – 1996 A.D. ).
Located in Harat Al Hajara in Sohar town. Dated back to 179 A.H., It was renovated, to its present shape, in the (Eighth – Ninth century A.H.) (14th A.H. – 15th A.D.). During the reign of Imam / Nasser bin Murshid Al Ya’arubi, he was able to conquer and expel the Portuguese from this castle. Sohar castle remained as administration Centre for the ruling Al Busaid dynasty. The Ministry restored the Fort in 1985 and used it as a museum in 1993.
Dated back to the 19th. century or earlier than that and located in the Welayat of Mirbat in Dhofar Governorate. This castle played defensive and administrative roles throughout history. It was restored by the Ministry in 1991 and was officially opened in 1996 on the occasion of the Year of Heritage. It was furnished and equipped with handicrafts from Dhofar Governorate and from the other Regions of Oman.
Al Mintrib Castle
One of the oldest castles in Welayat Badiya. Built during the reign of Imam / A’zzan bin Qais Al Busaid ( 1285 A.H. – 1868 ) and was used in the past as a center for the Welayat. The Ministry restored it in 1989.
Is amongst the oldest, is the tallest, and is surrounded by watch towers. (Al Batinah) originally known as Qalat Al Kisra, was built in the 13th century. It has four towers: Al Burj Al Ahmar; Al Burj Al Hadeeth; Al Burj Al Reeh; and Al Burj Ashiateen (which means, ominously, the devil’s tower). A falaj ran through the fort to supply water to its inhabitants. Should this become contaminated, the inhabitants were able to rely on a well. There are many rooms to this fort and it also boasts a mosque, weapons’ room, prison, and reception area.
Al Khandaq Castle
Located in Hamasa town in Welayat Buraimi. It was called ( Al Khandaq ) because of the ditch surrounding it . It is a square shape building with four circular towers and a main gate surrounded by high fences . The Ministry restored it in 1994.
Just inland from the sea, roughly 80 Km from the Capital city of Muscat, Qurayyat Fort sits on the outskirts of a breathtaking mountainous road, protecting the Wilayat centre and surrounding palm plantations.
A unique triangular watchtower, perched atop a small rocky islet, stands guard over the harbour area.
Sadah Fort dates back to the era of Sultan Taimour bin Faisal Al-Bu Saidi, perhaps earlier as suggested by the inscriptions on the lintel. The fort is the easternmost of a string of fortifications protecting the coast of Dhofar.
Despite its remote location, Sadah is a prosperous community, boasting a thriving traditional abalone fishery and a history of lucrative frankincense trading. The homes of wealthy myrrh merchants still stand on the foreshore of the town.
Al-Hillah Fort, notable for its distinctive plasterwork motifs, is situated at the heart of Al-Buraimi Oasis, Al-Buraimi Governorate.
The strategic location of Al-Buraimi on the overland route between Sohar and the Arabian Gulf made it a focal point of constant conflicts in past centuries.
The use of a defensive trench or dry moat is an ancient strategy which was employed in the protection of Omani cities, castles and fortresses in pre-Islamic times. The fort was restored in 1994.
Located in the Wilayat of As-Suwaiq, west of Barka on the Gulf of Oman, the fort is distinguished by three round corner towers and a square keep in the fourth corner in the style of pre-cannon architecture.
In the early 1800’s the fort was famously defended by the wife of the Suwaiq Wali
Barka Fort is perhaps the most impressive of Oman’s massive sand fortresses. Here an inscription records the name of Ahmad bin Said, the first imam of the Al-Bu Said dynasty, and victor of Oman’s final battle with the Persians.
A major landmark on Al-Batinah coast, the fort is located a few hundred meters from the shore of the Gulf of Oman, and dates back to the reign of Imam Saif bin Sultan Al-Ya’arubi. It features a unique octagonal tower with two restored watchtowers at the rear, which were once part of the defensive town wall.
Amidst farmland and palm groves to the west of the town of Barka in Al-Batinah Region stands Bait An-Na’aman, an elegant example of a 17th-century fortified palace. The construction of the stronghold is among the many achievements of the political and economic renaissance that took place under the rule of the Al-Ya’aruba Imams.
The building is a two-storey square structure with round towers rising three stories high in each corner.
The lobby leads to a main hall with rooms on both sides and a staircase leading to the second floor. The south-western tower is characterised by a unique dome-shaped ceiling.
Serving as a guesthouse for distinguished travellers, the rural stronghold of Bait An-Na’aman continued to be used until a few decades ago.
Ibri is one of the oldest inhabited areas in Oman. Ibri Fort, a remnant of the original walled city, is a robust structure built to withstand time and a harsh environment.
Within its walls is the beautifully restored Friday Mosque, which continues to serve the people of Ibri to this day.
The 17th century bastion of Bait Ar-Radaidah is some 24km from Nizwa at the beginning of Wadi Mu’aiden in A’Dakhliyah.
Combining the traditional elements of defensive and native architecture, its thick turreted perimeter walls of mud brick belie an elegant interior, featuring polylithic arches, painted ceilings and elaborate plasterwork
The fort stands high on a knoll overlooking the harbour and the boat-building yards of Sur in Ash-Sharqiyah Region.
For more than 300 years, the fort has witnessed the continuous interaction between the people of Sur and the sea. The design of the fort is a true reflection of the architectural style of that era, with an overall archetypal square plan with round towers at each of its four corners.
Bilad Sur Fort
Bilad Sur Fort in Wilayat Sur, A’Sharqiyah Region, stands proudly among lush groves of date palms.
Strategically sited inland from the sea and a defence against raiding invaders from the interior, the fort is part of a comprehensive network of regional defences that originally comprised five fortresses and numerous watchtowers.
Jalan Bani Bu Hassan Fort
The fort of Jalan Bani Bu Hassan was built as part of a defensive system and was originally part of a vast protective barricade for the city. The city itself is famous for its Arabian horses and skillful equestrians that perform on special occasions such as weddings, festivals and other ceremonial occasions.
Adults: 500 Baisas
Children 6-12 years: 200 Baisas
(100 Baisas when accompanied by family)
Special holiday discount for Eid al Fitr, Eid Al Adha and National Day, and on April 18th (International Heritage Day):
Adults: 300 Baisas
Children 6-12 years: 100 Baisas