Bahla Fort, insight into Oman's ancient architecture
The land of Oman is a mix of several millennia worth of culture and history, and it is not uncommon to see layers of one civilisation built upon the foundations of another.
The evidence of Oman’s multi-faceted history is found across several historic sites in the Sultanate, some of which have been deigned prestigious and important enough to be named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of these such sites is Bahla Fort was built between the 12thand 15th centuries.
According to UNESCO, “The oasis of Bahla owes its prosperity to the Banu Nebhan, the dominant tribe in the area from the 12th to the end of the 15th century. The ruins of the immense fort, with its walls and towers of unbaked brick and its stone foundations, is a remarkable example of this type of fortification and attests to the power of the Banu Nebhan.
“Bahla is an outstanding example of a fortified oasis settlement of the medieval Islamic period, exhibiting the water engineering skill of the early inhabitants for agricultural and domestic purposes,” added UNESCO. “The pre-gunpowder style fort with rounded towers and castellated parapets, together with the perimeter wall of stone and mud brick technology demonstrates the status and influence of the ruling elite.”
The city of Bahla lies 25 kilometres away from Nizwa, and is famed in Oman for its pottery making. The inhabitants of the city were also among the ones who mastered the use of the Falaj system, the ancient Omani practice of transporting water from natural reservoirs to agricultural areas where crops were cultivated.
In terms of the history and presence of Bahla, UNESCO said, “The falaj system and water course on which the settlement depends, together with the historic routes linking the settlement to other towns in the interior, extend far beyond its boundary. Despite some urban development in the late 20th century and early 21st century, Bahla remains prominent in the desert landscape.
“Its continued prominence within the landscape and the visual approaches are vulnerable to community development and tourism requirements,” they added. “Maintaining the surveillance role of the fort in relation to the souq, the surrounding settlement and the gateways will similarly depend on careful management of development within the property.”
source: Times of Oman
Credit : Oman Pocket Guide