Nakhal Fort & Springs and Rustaq

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hey all! Today we went on a daytime road trip to a fort about 120 KM from Muscat.

As the Oman Ministry of Tourism puts it, "Existing forts in Oman offer diverse glimpses of a powerful, wealthy Arabian culture living in turbulent times at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. Largely clustered in the northern one-third of the country, these are often enormous. The dizzying heights of many Omani forts and the complexity and weight of fortifications is a clear reminder that here were not nomadic herders, but some of the finest architects and engineers of their times and ours. Each fort in Oman has distinctive engineering and architectural features that make it a physical challenge and an education to visit." They are thousands of years old and about 500 total in the Sultanate.

Today we visited Nakhal Fort, also known as Husn Al Heem. It is located at the entrance of Wilayt Nakhal in Wadi Ar Raqeem. That last sentence most likely means nothing to you, but what can I do about it? Aha. 

fort from the front with a scenic bus blocking the full view LOL

closer look from fort entrance

They charged us 500 baisa a person which is less than 1.5 USD so it's super cheap and obviously worth it. We were given a map/guide at the entrance which unfortunately for me was all in Arabic. Hehe.

After the entrance and climbing up a few steps the above is what the top open part of the fort looks like. 

This is the view from the fort, it is so beautiful, it reminds me of why I am so blessed to be here and how much Oman has stolen my heart.

Here are some beautiful shots of the greenery for those who say it is all desert/sand/dirt. It is lush and vibrant.

Further into the fort, there are various labeled rooms which you can enter. They include "women's room", "boys room", "girls room", and "jail" out of many more. They were, for the most part, furnished beautifully and of course traditionally.

my favorite room of all, is the one above. The "majlis" as it is called is the sitting room/living room used to host and entertain guests. As you see, they are low and on the floor with decorative cushions. They are also present in current homes and they are still my favorite room in that setting, especially when there is a coffee table of some sort filled with fruits and desserts. I hope I can have a room of similar to this and the decoration for my future home. 

There is so much to this fort, I cannot post it all. I will let you come to Oman and see the beauty for yourself. To finish of your virtual visit, here is my selfie in a seemingly archaic mirror. 

Leaving the fort, a scenic drive through the local village. Narrow roads surrounded by palm trees and the sighting of goats, chickens, and their traditional water irrigation system.

After ten or fifteen minutes you hit a dead end and enter a wadi. A wadi is a valley or channel that holds water during rainy season, if not year round. It is picturesque as you can imagine, the mountains, flowing water, and my favorite is the families that set up their picnics and the children playing in the water. 

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures that could do it justice. Two great things other than what I have already mentioned. There are these little fish that if you put your feet in, they will come and eat all the dead skin. I did it for a bit and it was magical. Funky at first, but you get used to it and not want to come out. I am convinced that if I would have stayed maybe 10 minutes more my feet would have been softer than N's HAHA. The second is the hot spring, they have a raised pool of water that empties down a waterfall into the wadi you see above. I put my foot in it and it was nice and warm!! Wish I had clothes and time to sit and jacuzzi it up, although I don't think I would have been able to endure the heat.

After we dried up, we hopped in the car another thirty or forty minutes more to another hot springs located in an area named Rustaq. These were seperated by male and female and were bathhouses. You went inside and the water was running below, like a little river. Now these hot springs were hot! Funny thing is the women's is further down from the main hot spring, so I cannot imagine the heat there. The locals use it to take legitimate bath and wash clothes, although I think it is not allowed. I say this because I saw both soap and clothes and a woman drying her hair. :)

BY THE WAY we went through a smaller village before entering the hot springs and I swear all the men were so handsome, so I know where I am going to find a husband. LOL.

on the ride back I got the chance to snap some goats!

hope you enjoyed learning a bit from my day. 


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