A day trip from Muscat to Nizwa Fort and its surrounding forts is a fantastic way to explore Oman’s rich history and architectural heritage. Nizwa, located approximately 165 kilometers southwest of Muscat, is one of the country’s oldest cities and is known for its well-preserved forts.
The journey from Muscat to Nizwa takes you through scenic landscapes, including the Hajar Mountains and traditional Omani villages. As you approach Nizwa, you’ll be greeted by the sight of the imposing Nizwa Fort, a magnificent structure that dominates the city’s skyline.
Nizwa Fort, also known as Nizwa Castle, is the centrepiece of the trip. Built in the 17th century, the fort served as the seat of power for the ruling imams of Oman. Its solid construction and strategic location make it an impressive example of Omani military architecture. As you explore the fort’s labyrinthine corridors, you’ll encounter various rooms, including a central courtyard, a tower, a prison, and exhibits showcasing Omani artefacts, weapons, and traditional crafts. From the top of the fort, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city and the surrounding palm groves.
Adjacent to Nizwa Fort is the Nizwa Souq, a bustling traditional market that offers a fascinating glimpse into Omani culture and heritage. Here, you can browse through a wide array of stalls selling local handicrafts, silver jewellery, pottery, textiles, and spices. The souq is particularly famous for its Friday cattle market when locals gather to buy and sell livestock, creating a lively atmosphere.
After exploring Nizwa Fort and the souq, you can continue your day trip by visiting nearby forts. Bahla Fort, UNESCO World Heritage site located approximately 40 kilometers from Nizwa, is a must-visit. Bahla Fort is is famous for its impressive walls and towers, intricate carvings, and its association with traditional Omani pottery. The fort offers guided tours that provide insights into its history and architectural significance.
Another fort worth visiting in the vicinity is Jabreen Castle, situated about 45 kilometers from Nizwa. Jabreen Castle is renowned for its beautiful interior decorations, including painted ceilings, intricate woodwork, and colourful frescoes that depict Omani folklore and history. Exploring its various rooms, including the reception halls, living quarters, and the old courtroom, provides a glimpse into the daily life of the Omani ruling class.
Throughout your day trip, you’ll have the opportunity to savour traditional Omani cuisine at local restaurants or cafes. Don’t miss the chance to try Omani specialties such as shuwa (slow-cooked lamb), harees (a dish made from wheat and meat), and dates, which are a staple in Omani cuisine.
A day trip from Muscat to Nizwa Fort and its surrounding forts offers a captivating journey through Oman’s history and culture. It allows you to marvel at impressive fortifications, wander through traditional souqs, and gain a deeper appreciation for the Oman’s architectural heritage.