Bait Al-Qufl is a unique traditional storage structure found in the Musandam Peninsula of Oman. Its purpose was to safeguard valuable items during the seasonal migration of local villagers to the mountains, where they sought better pasture for their animals and relief from the summer heat. These structures were also used to store seeds for the upcoming year’s crops.
Bait Al-Qufl is constructed with stone walls and acacia wood roofing timbers. Originally, it was covered with soil, gravel, and a stone block edging. However, many Bait Al-Qufl structures are now in a state of disuse and have lost their roofs. The interior of the structure is typically recessed about one meter below ground level. Access to the interior is challenging, as there is a small inward-opening stone door, often accompanied by a system of intricate stone locks. This design was intended to prevent large-scale theft of stored grain.
To store grain and other items, large clay vessels were placed inside the Bait Al-Qufl before the completion of the roof. These vessels served as containers for the stored goods. The small size of the door, combined with the complex carvings of the lock, further added to the security measures to protect the stored grain from theft.
Overall, the Bait Al-Qufl is a significant part of the local heritage in the Musandam Peninsula of Oman. While many of these structures have fallen into disrepair, they serve as a reminder of the traditional practices and ingenuity of the local communities in preserving their valuable resources.