Nizwa is located in the heart of Oman about 165 km from Muscat, the country’s capital.
The scenic drive takes around an hour and a half; the road passes through many Wilayats like Bidbid, Samail, and Izki. Nizwa is an ancient city in the Ad Dakhiliyah region of northern Oman and is one of the oldest cities in Oman. It was once a centre of trade, religion, education and art.
Set amid a verdant spread of date palms, it is strategically located at the crossroads of routes linking the interior with Muscat and the lower reaches of Dhofar. Therefore it serves as important link for a large part of the country.
Today, Nizwa is a diverse prosperous place with numerous agricultural, historical and recreational aspects. The population is estimated to be around 700,000 people including the two areas of Burkat Al Mooz and Al Jebel Al Akhdar.
Marked by a grand new double-arched gateway, the town forms a natural access point for the historic sites of Bahla and Jabrin, and for excursions up the mountain roads to Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams.
In terms of tourism Nizwa is now the second-biggest tourist destination in Oman after Muscat. It was named the Capital of Islamic Culture in 2013.
The city is known for date cultivation, the most highly prized varieties of which are khalas and khumaizi. Nizwa was once the capital of Oman in the 6th and 7th centuries AD. With its deep connection to the root of Islam, Nizwa possesses a number of renowned mosques, such as Sultan Qaboos Jama (Friday mosque), So’al Mosque built in the 2nd century AH (9th century AD), Ash-Shawathinah Mosque in Uqr and Ash-Sharja Mosque.
There are also Al-Ain Mosque, Ash-Sheikh Mosque and Shuraij Mosque in Tanuf built in 377 AH (around 1000 AD). With many sights and attractions today Nizwa remains one of the most popular tourist attractions with its historical buildings, including an imposing fort built in the mid-17th century by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’ribi.
The town’s immense palm oasis stretches for eight kilometres along the course of two wadis. Also well worth visiting is Nizwa’s bustling souq where tourists can buy exquisite copper and silver jewellery and other craft items. The building embraces both traditional and modern architectural lines.
Nizwa is renowned for its silver jewellery, which is considered to be the best in the country and is noted for its craftsmanship.
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Why visit Nizwa?
Upon arriving in Nizwa, surrounded by palm groves at the base of the Al Hajar Mountains, it is hard to believe that the city was once a major trade hub and the capital of Oman in the 6th century. But because of its historical importance, the small town and the surrounding area are rich with historic (as well as some natural) wonders, from the Nizwa Fort and traditional Friday livestock market to the cliffside villages of the towering Jabal Akhdar Mountains. Nizwa is a good base for exploring the sights of the Dakhliya region, including Jabal Akhdar and Jabal Shams.
Comprising of mostly desert and limestone, Jebel Akhdaris also called the Green Mountain due to its shrubs and trees that grow because of the 300mm precipitation it receives every year.
One of the most popular tourist places in Oman, Jebel Akhdar is famous for its fruit orchards, date plantations and walnut cultivation has a distinct fragrance of rose water which is distilled to the homes in the villages nearby. Jebel Akhdar is a pleasant trip which rewards all of your senses! Nizwa Fort is Oman’s most visited and most famous monument and fort.
Unlike its counterpart the Bahla Fort, this 17th century fort has not yet been included under UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. What it lacks in prominence, it makes up for in exhibits and study conducted intended to reveal the glorious past of the city. The fort and the information inscribed inside sheds a fascinating detail on the influence and importance of the fort.
On Fridays, there is yet another sight to watch as locals bring their herds of sheep, goats and camels and parade them. The souq nearby also provides an excellent choice from a wide range of souvenirs to choose from. Jabreen Castle is famous for its battlements which is one of the most well-preserved monuments.
The castle was built in the year 1675 by Imam Bil Arab Bin Sultan. In the ancient days, the castle was a centre of learning for various branches like astrology, medicine and Islamic law. The majestic castle has three storeys, two towers and enormous halls and rooms inside, showing the grandeur of the Imams of the time.
Standing at the base of the flagpole at the castle will give visitors a bird’s eye view of the interiors of the castle.
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