Nakhl Fortress, Oman

The fortress of Nakhl at the foot of the spectacular peaks of the mountain range of the same name is set amid idyllic date gardens. In the 1990s, the Nakhl Fort was extensively renovated and lovingly furnished.

The Omani town of Nakhl (also spelled "Nakhal") is located about 120km west of Muscat against the spectacular backdrop of the Jebel Nakhl massif, the north-eastern foothills of the Jebel Akhdar mountain range. Large gardens stretch out in front of the mighty mountains, giving the entire district of Nakhl its name, for "nakhl" translates as "date palms".


The imposing fortress of Nakhl, also called Husn Al Heem, towers above the village on a sixty-metre-high rock. The stone block stands completely free and it seems as if the fort has grown directly out of the rock. Parts of the mountain are directly integrated into the walls of the fort. The imposing bulwark is one of our 10 most beautiful forts in Oman.

Construction of the fortress of Nakhl

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 exact date of the construction of Husn Al Heem is unknown, but it is still in pre-Islamic times. The fort was built to protect the oasis and the nearby trade routes. Over the centuries, the fort has been repeatedly renovated and expanded, the last major changes being carried out by Omani builders in the 17th century.

Today, visitors can see the 3,400 square metre fortress with six impressive defence towers, a 30 m high wall and a massive gate. The towers and the gate were built in 1834 under Imam Said bin Sultan I.

Tip: The best view of Nakhl Fort is from 1-2km away in the direction of Rustaq. In the late afternoon at around 4pm, the fort is spectacularly illuminated by the slowly sinking sun - the best light for perfect photos.

Visit to the fortress of Nakhl

From the top platforms of the fortress in Nakhl, which are still equipped with cannons, there is a wonderful view over the Batinah region in northern Oman - © l i g h t p o e t / Shutterstock
© l i g h t p o e t / Shutterstock

The fortress was extensively renovated in the 1990s and now shines in its former glory. Many rooms have been furnished by the Omani Ministry of Tourism with traditional furnishings that illustrate the former life in the fortress exceptionally well.

Artfully carved wooden doors and lovingly restored ceiling paintings give the interior of the fort a very special artistic flair. In addition to the historic interior, a collection of weapons can also be admired in Husn Al Heem. Every Friday, the fort also hosts a lively goat market.

From the top platforms of the fortress, which are still equipped with cannons, you have a wonderful view over the Batinah region in northern Oman.

Tip: A road of about 3km leads through the date gardens of Nakhl to the hot springs Ain A'Thawwarah in the Wadi Hammam. "Hammam" means "bath" and as the name suggests, the locals meet here, especially in the evening, for an (officially forbidden) dip in the cool water. Especially at weekends, it can get quite crowded in the beautifully green wadi.

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