Ad-Dakhiliah Region

Ad-Dakhliyah Region forms the strategic interior depth of the Sultanate, hence, interchangeably referred to as The Interior.

The Region occupies the central plateau, which descends from the foots of Western Hajar mountains in the North towards the desert in the South. Mountains in this area are distinct with the high slopes and temperate weather, even in summer the temperature is always below 30 degrees. It is a major station on the route to other Regions, bordering Muscat to the North, Ash-Sharqiyah to the East, Al-Wusta to the South and Adh-Dhahirah to the West.

Eight Wilayats are forming Ad-Dakhliyah Region, contributing to 11.3% of the total population in Oman, with Nizwa being the Region's Centre.

Ad-Dakhliyah played a great role in Oman history, particularly in spreading Islam. In the heart of the Region lies Nizwa; Pearl of Islam and Oman's early Capital, which was for decades a sanctuary for scholars, intellectuals and jurists, and a stronghold for powerful leaders. At close proximity is Samail, home of Mazin bin Ghaduba; first Omani to embrace Islam, and his famous mosque; the first to establish in Oman.

Ad-Dakhiliyah had also contributed in linking the coast with interior through crucial caravan routes and vital transit stations.

It is not surprising therefore to find Ad-Dhakiliyah featuring a broad array of forts, castles, watchtowers, and mosques, the most prominent of which are the Castles of Nizwa and Bahla, Jibrin Fort and the Mosques of A'Shawathinah and Al-Medhmar.

For the visitor, mountains, wadis, handicrafts and historical sites ensure good sights and pleasant experience. Comfortable hotels and rest houses are located against a backdrop of mountains.

Ad-Dhakiliyah is one of the major agricultural areas in Oman where dates, lime, mango and cotton are cultivated. It is also famous for its pottery industry in Bahla and rose water extraction in Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar.

In the heat of the Wilayat rests the oasis city of Nizwa some 140 Km from Muscat, the largest in the interior province.

Nizwa was the capital of Oman in the 6th and 7th centuries AH. Today, it is a diverse prosperous place, with numerous agricultural, historical and recreational aspects. The imposing structure of Nizwa Castle stands high and proud in the town proper.

With its deep connection to the root of Islam, Nizwa possesses a number of renowned mosques, such as Nizwa Mosque; a Friday mosque heralded as a 'Beacon of Science', So'al Mosque; built in the 2nd century AH, Ash-Shawathinah Mosque in Uqr, Ash-Sharja Mosque, Al-Ain Mosque, Ash-Sheikh Mosque and Shuraij Mosque in Tanuf, built in 377 AH, and Beit Al-Radidah fort at Birkat Al-Moz, Al-Khatmeen Falaj as well as the old village and neighborhood in Nizwa such as Harat Al-Saybani in Birkat Almoz, Al-Aqar in Nizwa old bazaar Al-Mundhara and falaj Daras.

The mention of Nizwa invariably brings to mind its traditional Souq next to the Castle, which was renovated in the 1990's.

The design of the souq compliments the Castle in every way, and has been constructed using same traditional materials. In 1993, Nizwa won the award of 'Organisation of Arab Cities'.

Around 90 aflaj do exist in the area, the most important being Falaj Daris; the life maintainer of Nizwa gardens and the water supplier for all domestic purposes. It also boasts Wadi Tanuf with its falaj, waterfalls and natural springs, which form the main source of mineral water in the country. The construction of Tanuf Dam added an air of grace to the area.

Farming is widely practiced in the Wilayat, and its people are masters in Khanjar making, recognised for its distinctive style and patterns.

Also in paractice are hide tanning, date and red sugar processing, and rose water extraction, particularly in Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar, and agricultural produce including pomegranate, apricot, peach and walnut..

Bidbid is the closest Wilayat of Ad-Dakhiyah Regoin to Muscat, lying only 80 Km from the Capital Area.

The most notable feature in Bidbid is Wadi Fanja, with its frequent running water and extensive palm groves; a pleasant picnic spot. Other sites include Qu’aid spring, and aflaj of Ar-Ruha and Hamamiyat.

Pottery and mats are main handcrafts here, the latter being woven from palm tree leaves and fronds.

Situated 89 Km from Muscat, Samail was home to Mazin bin Ghadhuba, the first Omani to embrace Islam. He built the first mosque in Samail in 9th century AH.

the Wilayat boasts many wadis, some of which constitute the natural 'Samail Wadi' that divides Hajar Mountains into Western and Eastern Hajar ranges.

As-Samdi falaj among 190 aflaj meander around green oases and date groves. Some of the best dates in Oman come from Samail, such as Naghal, Fardh, Khanizi, Mabsali, and Khasab.

The ruins of Samail are testimony to the Wilayat's glorious history. Of the most prominent sites are Samail Fort, the Castle of Ash-Shahbaa and roughly 300 Mosques, of which the Mosques of Mazin bin Ghadhuba (Masjid Al-Midhmar) and Al-Queblatayn are the most significant.

The Wilayat of Izki, 280 Km from Muscat, was a busy transit point for trade caravans, around which markets flourished.

One of the oldest cities of Oman, the City of Izki was called Jarnan prior to Islam, before acquiring its current name referring to Zakat.

Izki is well-known for its clustered ancient houses of historical value, such as Harat Al-Yaman, Harat Al-Nizar, and Harat Al-Sawadi, on top of tombs dating back to the Third Millennium BC in Zukeit, 3 forts and some 142 towers.

Falaj Al-Malki and the Cave of Jarnan in the village of Al-Nizar are the most popular natural attractions of Izki.

The Wilayat of Manah nestles to the Northwest of Nizwa, some 260 Km from Muscat.

Manah is thought to be the first resting place of Malik bin Fahim Al-Azdi before the Arabs entered Oman following the collapse of Maa'rib Dam in Yemen. A falaj in Manah still bears his name. In the old town, there are many caves which were said to shelter women and children during war.

The Wilayat encompasses many ancient sites of interest, such as Harat Al-Bilad Al-Qadimah, the Castles of Al-Feiqeen and Al-Bilad, an old fort in the town of Al-Ma’rah, the Old Mosque and Ash-Sharat Mosque.

Manah also features some ntural springs such as Al-Bilad and Al-Ma’a, in addition to more than 13 aflaj.

About 30 Km west of Nizwa, on the road to Ibri, rests the charming and ancient Wilayat of Bahla. Traditional in every respect even today, Bahla and its lush environs have many to tell. It is a must-visit on the itinerary of every tourist who wants to feel the distinct flavour of Oman.

Across the road, rises the great Castle of Bahla, with its attractive balconies, towers, and impessive 17-gates wall. The Castle has retained much of its authenticity as an extraordinary illustration of this fortification style. At close proximity sits the imposing Fort of Jabrin.

However, the pride of place in Bahla is occupied by the potters and their exceptional art. Bahla potters, they say throughout the country, have magic in their fingers and their creations adorn the best of homes. traditionally-made pots of Bahla are found in homes throughout the Sultanate and are a favourite souvenir with tourists. Intricate designs, some of which have been passed on through the generations and have local significance, are etched into the necks and bodies of these pots.

Wilayat Al-Hamra is located in the northwest part of Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar to the West of Nizwa.

The Wilayat is probably well characterised by its mountainous village of Misfat Al-Abriyeen resting at more than 3,000 feet above sea level, which seemingly hewn out of rocks, surrounded by steep mountain slopes set amidst greenery and date plantations.

Al-Hmara is also home to the marvellous Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain), which rises to dizzying heights. The Wilayat features other stunning natural wonders including Wadi Goul; homeland of many carpet weavers and the gateway to Jabal Shams, Wadi Al-Melh and renowned Al-Hootah Cave, in addition to a number of aflaj and wells.

The Wilayat also boasts several historical sites, including Bait As-Safa, Beit An-Ne'mah, Al-Aridh Mosque, built in 4th century AH to accommodate 1000 worshipers and Al-Qariah Mosque.

Adam is roughly 295 Km from Muscat and is the Southern gate to Ad-Dakhiyah. It is thought that the Wilayat derived its name from Adim Al-Ardh, meaning 'surface of the earth', or 'fertile land in the desert'.

Adam is noted for its old Harat; typical Omani communal-style settlements, where homes are built in a tight huddle.

A labyrinth of narrow pathways connects these homes, with old-world appeal lies in its cluster of stone-and-mud dwellings laid out like steps along the slope of rocky hills.

Examples of said Harat include Harat Al-Busaid; the birthplace of Imam Ahmad bin Said—the founder of Al-Bu Said daynisty, Harat Beni Shaiban; a critical station on the route of camel caravans before Islam, Harat Al-Hawashim and Harat Al-Ain. Famous leaders like Mohalab bin Abi Sofrah and Saif Al-Shibani were born in these Harat.

On top of that, the Wilayat is rich with old mosques, such as the Mosques of Al-Mahlabiyah, Al-Rahbah and Al-Rawghah, in addition to the forts of Adam, Falaj Al-Ain and Falaj Al-Maleh and some 30 towers.

Natuarally, Adam comprises a number of interesting sites like Jabal Salakh, Wadi Halfain, springs of Ar-Rakheem, Al-Jandali and Namah, and four aflaj.