The stone beehive tombs were built around 3500 BC and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Always laid out on a ridge, they are recognisable from afar - and yet not always easy to find!
The beehive tombs in Oman - so called because of their compact mound shape - in Al Ayn and Bat were built around 3500 BC and were a burial form of the Hafit period. Since 1988, the beehive tombs have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We have them on our list of the top 10 sights in Oman.
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PICTURES: Beehive tombs of Al Ayn and Bat
Photo Gallery: Beehive Tombs of Al Ayn and Bat
Unfortunately, the graves were looted by grave robbers, leaving behind only the ceramic vessels that were worthless to them. These have a clear resemblance to Mesopotamian vessels, which suggests early trade relations with Mesopotamia. Human remains were never found in the graves.
Where are the beehive tombs the most beautiful?
Those who do not have enough time to visit both tombs should concentrate on the beehive tombs of Al Ayn. These are better preserved and, in terms of their layout, the much more impressive burial site, built on a ridge of hills in front of Jebel Misht, which rises 1,000 metres behind them. The site is surrounded by a wire mesh fence, but freely accessible.
So you can easily visit the beehive tombs from close up. The climb is easy and definitely worth it. Don't forget water, there is hardly any shade! The beehive tombs here are around 3 to 4 metres high. Most of them are still well preserved and are lined up next to each other on the ridge. However, some have already collapsed into piles of stones.
Directions to Al Ayn and Bat
Al Ayn can be reached from Nizwa via national road 21. 88 km from Nizwa, a road leads northwards to the village of Amla. You pass Amla and after about 11 kilometres you reach the village of Al Ayn. To reach the beehive tombs, drive around the village and follow a track along the edge of the wadi.
The beehive tombs in Bat can be reached most quickly from Ibri via national road 9 to Dariz (18 km). From Dariz it is another 18 km to the oasis settlement of Bat. There are more beehive tombs in Bat than in Al Ayn, but they are not as well preserved. From Bat to Al Ayn it is about 30 kilometres on an asphalt road.
The sites of the beehive tombs are somewhat complicated to find, as there are no explicit signposts. Just keep your eyes open, stop next to the road and then walk to the gravesites.