FORTS and castles are Omanís most striking cultural landmarks. Oman boasts over 1,000 forts, castles and towers, making Oman an exciting travel-destination. The architectural styles of these forts are of outstanding beauty. Among them, one of the famous landmarks is Nakhl Fort in Al Batinah. Nakhl Fort, an hourís drive from Muscat, is 350 years old and is set in a gorgeous surrounding of a mountain enclave. In 1990, elaborate restoration work began, using traditional building materials. The carved master gate is believed to date back to the 1830s during the reign of Sayyid Said bin Sultan.
Located at the edge of the Jabal Akhdar Mountains, Nakhal Fort is one of the most spectacular forts in the world. Near this fort is a beautiful oasis and hot spring. Tourists visiting this fort make it a point to take pictures and make video films from different sides. Each side offers pleasing and outstanding scenic views. The main courtyard of the fort is a beauty spot. But for a panoramic view of the Nakhal countryside, with the Jabal Akhdar mountain range, one needs to view it from the top. Much of the fort is surrounded by acres of date palms, which extends into the countryside.
The spring water in its vicinity is as warm as bathwater. This hot spring outside the fort is now populated by a herd of goats. Oman, a scenic gem occupying the eastern bulge of the Arabian Peninsula, is rapidly developing into one of the hottest tourist spots in the Middle East. Second largest country in the GCC after Saudi Arabia, it offers tourists a range of distinctive experiences ó a largely ó untouched coastline, deserts, mountains, a rich cultural heritage, an array of ports, caves, castles and palaces and many Unesco listed forts.
Showcasing Omanís rich past, diverse climate and geological landscape ó which is adorned with ancient oasis settlements, sandy beaches, coral reefs, caves, historic castles, archaeological remains, traditional craft, museums and a friendly and open-hearted people living gracious and gentle lives ó the Sultanateís landscape is becoming an year-round tourist destination.
Holidaying in Oman offers a guarantee of value and excellence. Tour operators are upbeat about Oman emerging as an all-year-round destination in not too distant a future. For tourists, Oman has much to offer. More than 1,000 forts, castles and watchtowers scattered all over the country are a special magnet for tourists. ó Pictures by Majid Habib