Qalhat is an ancient city located on the eastern coast of Oman, in the Ash Sharqiyah region. It holds great historical significance and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Qalhat was once a major trading port and an important center of commerce and culture in the region.
The city of Qalhat has a long history that dates back to pre-Islamic times. It flourished as a trading hub during the 13th and 14th centuries when it was ruled by the Hormuz Kingdom. Qalhat served as a vital link in the Indian Ocean trade network, connecting the Arabian Peninsula with India, Persia, and East Africa. It was particularly renowned for its trade in frankincense, a highly valued commodity during that time.
One of the most prominent landmarks is the Mausoleum of Bibi Maryam. This impressive structure was built in the 14th century and is believed to be the final resting place of a local saint. The mausoleum stands as a testament to the architectural and artistic skills of the period, featuring intricate carvings and decorative elements.
Qalhat also boasts the remnants of a fortified city wall, which once surrounded the settlement and protected it from invasions. The wall, constructed using locally available materials like coral stones and mud bricks, provided defence to the city and its inhabitants.
Another noteworthy site is the Portuguese Fort, known as Qalhat Castle or Bibi Miriam’s Castle. Built during the 16th century, the fort was initially constructed by the Portuguese as a defence against rival powers in the region. Today, the ruins of the fort offer insight into the historical interactions between Oman and European powers during the age of exploration.
Apart from its historical significance, Qalhat is also known for its scenic beauty. It is located near the coast, surrounded by stunning landscapes that blend mountains and the sea. The area is characterized by rocky cliffs, picturesque beaches, and breathtaking views.
Visitors to Qalhat can explore the ancient ruins, stroll through the archaeological sites, and learn about the city’s rich history. The site is relatively lesser-known compared to other tourist destinations in Oman, offering a more serene and immersive experience.
Qalhat is an ancient city in Oman that played a significant role in the region’s history as a bustling trading port. Its UNESCO-listed sites, such as the Mausoleum of Bibi Maryam and the Portuguese Fort, provide glimpses into its past glory. With its historical importance and natural beauty, Qalhat offers a unique and enriching experience to those interested in Oman’s rich cultural heritage.