Enjoy your Oman tour and travel through the Sumail Gap, the passage in the middle of the Hajjar Mountains that the caravans followed to take supplies to Nizwa and beyond. Tucked away in the mountainside, hardly discernible at first is the old village of Fanja with its houses made of mud and rock. Watchtowers top the hills.
Drive on to the motorway hugging the mountains that rise higher and higher till you reach the historic city of Nizwa, from where Islam spread all over Oman. Nizwa, one of the oldest cities of Oman, was its capital during the sixth and seventh centuries and the centre of education and art. Nizwa is dominated by the massive circular canon tower of the fort, from whose battlements you get a splendid view of the old town, a vast oasis, the walled souq and the beautiful mosque. On Fridays, goat auctions conducted here beneath a canopy of date palm trees in the souq are similar to the traditional auctions that take place elsewhere in Oman, especially on the eve of Eid festivities.
You next stop at Bahla, a very ancient town, where traders from the Mesopotamian city of Sumer bought and sold their wares. Bahla was known as a centre of magic in the days gone by. Today, Bahla pottery is well known in Oman. The four-towered Bahla fort stands majestically alone, like a sentinel watching over the town and an extensive palm covered oasis, which was protected by a 12 kilometer long wall that encircled the settlement.
Not far from Bahla lies the castle of Jabrin, built in 1670 by the Iman and considered one of the finest and most picturesque of Oman’s forts. The Jabrin Fort is one of the few forts designed as a residence, its wooden doors are elegantly carved and the lattice work windows are delicate and ornate. Compared to other forts in Oman it has turrets and trellised balconies. The Iman was a great scholar, and gathered around him the most learned men of his day. His love for beauty is reflected in the intricate paintings on the wooden beams of the ceilings and the carved doors of the castle.
Travel to Al Hamra, a 300-year-old town on the edge of a sprawling oasis and then up a winding road through hills to the faraway village of Misfah, where groves of palm and lime trees grow against the mountainside and ancient stone dwellings still exist. Over night at the Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel