Bahla

Travel Guide Middle East Oman Bahla

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Introduction

Bahla is a fortified oasis town in Northern Oman, best known for its immense 14th-century fortress and for a unique style of pottery. The fortress and the town are enclosed by the extensive remnants of a 12-km long fortified wall. Most buildings in the town are constructed of traditional mud brick, many of them hundreds of years old. The best view of the fortifications and the fortress can be had from just outside the western entrance, near the Jabrin junction.

Bahla is also known in Oman as Madinat Al Sehr ('City of Magic') due to its long association with djinn and sorcerers, an association continuing to the present day.

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Sights and Activities

  • Bahla Fort, Hwy 21. F 08:00-11:00, Sa 08:00-16:00. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in the 13th and 14th centuries by the prosperous Bani Nebhan tribe when they dominated the region. The original, unaltered structure has stone foundations and walls of unbaked mud brick, and together with the rest of the town is a magnificent example of medieval southern Arabian architecture. After a twenty-year restoration effort, the fort is now partially open to the public for limited hours. There are a number of displays inside, but as yet few labels or descriptions. 500 Bzs.
  • Mosques of the Saints (Flying Mosques) (dirt rd off of Hwy 21, 0.5 km SW of the Shell petrol station). Three old mosques in an ancient cemetery mark the tombs of medieval Sufi hermits who were believed to be in communion with djinn. According to one old legend the mosque in the middle was flown in intact from Rustaq, nearly 90 km away.
  • Jabrin Castle (5 km SW of Bahla). Sa-Th 09:00-16:00. This impressive fortress was first built in 1670-1675 as a residence for Imam Sultan bin Saif Al Ya'arubi, and was a centre of learning for medicine, astrology and Islamic studies. Many rooms and balconies feature elaborately carved fixtures, and within the living quarters the ceilings are painted with flowers and other ornamental flourishes. The tomb of the Imam is also enclosed within the fort. 500 Bzs.

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Getting There

Bahla is bisected by Highway 21, about halfway between Nizwa and Ibri. Daily buses go to Muscat.

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Sleep

  • Jibreen Hotel, Nizwa-Ibri Rd, Jabrin (by the Jabrin junction), ☏ +968 25 363340, +968 25 363371, fax: +968 25 363128, ✉ jibrnhtl@omantel.net.om. Check-in: 14:30-19:00, check-out: 09:00-11:30. Has clean, comfortable rooms. Nonsmoking, with onsite restaurant and free Wi-Fi in public spaces. RO 20-45 (May-Sep), RO 40-70 (Oct-Apr); rates include breakfast.

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Keep Connected

Internet

You can find internet cafes in some places, but they are not very common in Oman, mainly also because there's no free press. To use the Internet, individuals, companies, and institutions are asked to sign an agreement not to publish anything that destabilizes the state.
Wifi is on the rise including free wifi spots provided by Omantel, mainly in Muscat and a few other places.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for Oman is 968. The general emergency number is 999.

Dialling out from Oman you will need to dial 00 + International Code + Number. Dialling into Oman callers use +968 followed by an 8-digit number.
These 8-digit numbers generally start with a 9 if it is mobile number, and with 2 for land line.

Telecommunication services in Oman are provided by Omantel. The company has a monopoly on the land-line telephone and Internet markets.
To avoid high costs when using your cellphone in Oman, buy a local SIM card, which are readily available in the country. Make sure you have an unlocked cell phone.

Post

Oman Post provides postal services in the country. Post offices generally open from 8:00am to 1:30pm Saturday to Wednesday and 8:00am to 11:00am Thursday. Services are reliable and relatively fast, though if you like to send a package internationally, you could also try and use international companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 12:13 on Jul 15, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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