By Mohammed Hammod al Abri : Misfat
al Abreen is one of the most important tourist centres in the
Sultanate of Oman because of the large number of visitors it
receives all year round. It lies at the foot of Jabal Shams at a
distance of 5 km from the city centre of Wilayat Al Hamra in Al
Dakhiliyah region. It is well connected by good roads and is
accessible to all kinds of vehicles. Misfat is a living story of
rugged mountains turned into a green oasis that today enjoys
security, prosperity and development.
The route to Al Misfat
The journey from Al Hamra to Misfat is a tour in itself. You get an overview of Al Hamra, its ancient buildings and the breathtaking date palm gardens. The view from Misfat at night is romantic with the well-lit Hamra below and the moon and star-lit sky above you.
The first thing that draws your attention here is the agricultural terraces, which extends from the source of Falaj Al Misfat and to even very long distances. The most important agricultural crops are palm trees, bananas and citrus fruits. It is widely known all over the country for its plentiful lemon cultivation.
Al Misfat’s buildings are characterised by old high-rising structures that go up to the height of four floors. They were built on rocks and mountain slopes. Visitors pass through the corridors overlooking the picturesque windows and doors before they can reach the agricultural terraces, falaj and ponds. People still live in these houses and tourists are taken back in history when they hear voices from these buildings. The Rogan Fort is a big attraction of Misfat.
The Falaj al Misfat, characterised by long-winding canals, is the sole source of drinking water for man and animals and for irrigation of crops in the area. The pond in the midst of the mountain is used by people for swimming. Visitors passing by the side of the Falaj Alain can often be lost in the serenity, the sounds of birds and the gentle breeze there. The falaj at such high altitude speaks volumes of the ingenuity of the ancient Omanis who made a water distribution system that depended on the sun and the stars. Visitors can still see the rock towers that were used for this purpose.
Amateur climbers come here looking for adventure and exploration. Al Misfat is home to many mountain tracks and the Ministry of T ourism is doing all it can to develop its tourist value. There is a road that can take you from Misfat to Rustaq that runs amidst the high mountains. Visitors can find guides to take them to gardens and ponds situated in the valleys in the mountains.
People of the village
The people of the village keep customs and ancient traditions, and respect visitors to the village. And it is no wonder that visitors are often invited by the village shaikh for coffee. The generosity of the villagers is evident from the way they help any visitor to the village.
Tourist projects in future
The Government is assessing the village to develop and restore some of the houses to be converted into a museum. Restaurants and sheltered housings are being planned to provide the best services in the future.
— Pictures by Khamis al Moharbi