Nakhl, Oman

Nakhal Fort

An imposing Omani fortress surrounded by date palm trees. 

Near the north coast of Oman, in the province of Nakhal, is a spectacular fortress that pre-dates the Islamic era.

The pre-Islamic (the exact date is unknown) structure that was the foundation for later additions to Nakhal Fort was built around a large, oddly shaped boulder at the base of Mount Nakhal, which occasionally juts out into the fort’s interior. This is why the fort is an irregular shape.

The fort has been renovated many times since its construction to protect nearby trade routes, most notably in the 9th and 17th centuries as well as in 1834 (when the walls, towers, and entranceway were built). There is a mosque on the first floor and residential and reception rooms on the upper level. The ceiling of one guest room features beautiful geometric designs and Arabic writing.

From its history of use for defense, Nakhal Fort has acquired a collection of interesting features, including nooks over doorways where boiling cauldrons of honey or date juice would wait to be poured on invaders, and spiked doors for repelling battering rams.

Today, the fort houses a museum with exhibits of historic guns and other artifacts. Every Friday at the fort there is a goat market. The view from the fort is mostly of date palm trees that fill the surrounding area, appropriate, since the fort’s name, Nakhal, translates to “palm.”

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