The 10 most beautiful forts in Oman

The mighty fortresses in Oman convey an impressive picture of the fortified desert cities of yesteryear and show how splendidly the Omani rulers once resided.

Over the centuries, the hotly contested cities in Oman were fortified with mighty castles by the reigning rulers. After peace reigned again, the sultans converted many of the impressive fortresses into comfortable residential castles. Thick walls and wind towers provided a pleasant climate and if danger should threaten again, a few soldiers and cannons would be quickly procured.

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The sand-coloured legacies of Oman's martial past have been lavishly restored today and most of them can also be visited from the inside.

Hisn Tamah Fortress, Bahla

The massive Hisn Tamah in Bahla is one of the most beautiful and impressive historical fortifications in Oman - © Rudolf Tepfenhart / Shutterstock
© Rudolf Tepfenhart / Shutterstock

Hisn Tamah Fortress in Bahla is the only fortress in Oman to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated at the foot of Jebel Akhdar, the impressive mud-brick fort has been completely renovated using only traditional methods. Thus, the imposing bulwark with its massive dimensions also preserves the architectural heritage in Oman.

Article: Fortress Hisn Tamah in Bahla
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Jabrin Castle

Facade of Jabrin Castle, Oman - © FRASHO, franks-travelbox
© FRASHO, franks-travelbox

The 17th century Jabrin Palace is considered one of the most beautiful and picturesque buildings in Oman. After being lavishly renovated in 1984, the impressive palace offers a revealing insight into life at the courts of Oman at that time. The masterfully painted wooden ceilings, the ornate stucco decorations and the Moorish arches deserve special attention.

Article: Jabrin Castle
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Nakhl Fortress

The impressive fortress of Nakhl was rebuilt several times and presents itself today with six impressive defence towers, a 30m high wall and a massive gate, Oman - © Rudolf Tepfenhart / Shutterstock
© Rudolf Tepfenhart / Shutterstock

The magnificent fortress of Nakhl is enthroned on an impressive rock in the "date palm" village of the same name. The traditionally furnished rooms tell of everyday life in Oman in past centuries. Carved wooden doors and ceiling paintings lend the imposing fortress an artistic atmosphere.

Article: Fortress Nakhl

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Bait Na'aman

The awe-inspiring Bait Na'aman in northern Oman is not actually a fortress, but an extremely cosily furnished residential tower that now functions as a museum - © Rudolf Tepfenhart/Shutterstock
© Rudolf Tepfenhart/Shutterstock

The Bait Na'aman is located 5km from Barka and is actually a residential tower with an extremely fortified impression. Built at the end of the 17th century, the residential fort was equipped with 6 cannons, but never had to defend itself against attackers. Today it has been extensively renovated and is one of the finest testimonies to how the Omani rulers resided in the 18th century.

Article: Bait Na'aman


Fort Nizwa

The impressive fortress of Nizwa in northern Oman is one of the most visited sights in Oman - © JPRichard / Shutterstock
© JPRichard / Shutterstock

Most Oman holidaymakers come to Nizwa to visit the mighty fort with its respect-inspiring walls. The gigantic round tower of the Nizwa Fort is particularly impressive. With a diameter of 44m and a height of 28m, it is the largest tower in Oman.

Article: Fort Nizwa
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Qalaat al-Qesra Fortress, Rustaq

The fortress of Rustaq is one of the largest and oldest bulwarks in Oman - © Styve Reineck / Shutterstock
© Styve Reineck / Shutterstock

After Rustaq was Oman's seat of power before Muscat, the now quiet town was given a massive fort in the 17th century to ensure the safety of its inhabitants. The 3m-thick walls have withstood many a bombardment and today house a collection of restored weapons.

Article: Qalaat al-Qesra Fortress in Rustaq


Mirani and Jalali Fortresses, Muscat

The once tower-shaped Mirani Fortress was built in the 16th century and now towers over the west of Muscat Bay, Oman - © Philip Lange / Shutterstock
© Philip Lange / Shutterstock

The two forts Mirani and Jalali were once part of the city walls of Muscat. The two forts were built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and still tower over the Gulf of Oman at the port of Muscat. Only Jalali Fort can be visited; it houses a museum of Omani culture and history.

Article: Old Town of Muscat

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Fortress al Hazm

The mighty fortress in the small oasis of Al-Hazm is perfectly renovated and one of the finest examples of an Omani fortification, Oman - © ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock
© ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock

The fortress in the picturesque oasis of al Hazm is probably the youngest fortification in Oman, it was only completed in 1708. Its builder, Sultan bin Saif II, probably wanted to outdo all other fortresses, because al Hazm is probably the most magnificent example of Omani fortress architecture.

The fort could be perfectly defended and withstand sieges for a particularly long time due to numerous tricks. Besides the sophisticated architecture, the many carved wooden doors of the al Hazm fortress are also impressive.

Article: Fortress al Hazm


Al Mintarib Fortress, Wahiba Sands

The courtyard of Al Mintarib Fortress on the edge of the Wahiba Sands desert, Oman - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

Located in the north-east of Oman, the oasis of Al Mintarib and its spectacular fortress act as the gateway to the Ramlat al Wahiba desert. It is one of the oldest forts in Oman and, due to its secluded location, is usually little visited. Omani holidaymakers can cool off in its majestic rooms before heading into the sweltering heat of Wahiba Sands.

Article: Al Mintarib Fortress
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Khasab Fortress, Musandam

View over the fortress of Alkmazrh and the mosque of the city of Khasab on the Omani exclave of Musandam - © Joaoleitao CC BY-SA3.0/W
© Joaoleitao CC BY-SA3.0/W

Like the Mirani and Jalali forts in Muscat, the first fortress of Khasab in Musandam's capital was most likely built by the Portuguese. Today's castle in the north of the old city was built by Omanis and houses a museum of craftsmanship and archaeology in addition to furnished residential towers.

Article: Khasab Fortress

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PICTURES: The 10 most beautiful forts in Oman

Photo gallery: The 10 most beautiful forts in Oman


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