The impressive Nakhal Fort and relaxing AthThawara spring

The impressive Nakhal Fort and relaxing AthThawara spring
The Nakhal Fort impressively constructed on top of huge rocks

The Nakhal Fort impressively constructed on top of huge rocks

June 14, 2011 – It was quite many months ago when we traveled to the wilayat of Nakhal. I was on the onset of my third trimester and was longing to journey around neighboring places of Batihan region unconsidering the summer heat that was already hitting Oman. We just recently owned a new car and my husband also wanted to get familiar with many places particularly in the interior region.

So, I invited my two good friends and fellow workers in the college, Elena and Gabby, to join us for an afternoon ride just to get some fresh air and wander through Barka and Nakhal. After we got home from work, we quickly fixed ourselves and headed towards Barka located south coast in the direction of Muscat.

At the fort's entrance

At the fort’s entrance

The town of Barka is approximately 45 kilometers away from my home in Muladdah. From there, we turned inland on Route 13 on the way to Al Wasit and Nakhal.

You can find many jars, like this, hanging on the corner of the walls

You can find many jars, like this, hanging on the corner of the walls

Jesse had to drive carefully because the concrete way is narrow with only two lanes while there were major road constructions on going in between places. After reaching Nakhal, about 30km inland from Barka, we stopped at the fort.

Old Omani Jar and Bowl that accentuate the hallway

Old Omani Jar and Bowl that accentuate the hallway

The Nakhal Fort is massive castle built during the reign of Imam Said bin Sultan in 1834. The fort got its name from the town itself which means “date palm”. It is considered as one of the most prominent historical monuments in the Sultanate. The fort’s architecture is very interesting because it was constructed around irregularly shaped rock, wherein some rocks become part of the building.

an old canyon display in the fort

an old canyon display in the fort

This can be found in some towers and entry ways especially in the western side. At a far distance, the fort impressively rises above the rocky hill at the base of Mount Nakhal surrounded with huge palm orchards and Hajar Mountains that perfectly provide a wonderful backdrop.

The door at my back will lead to the upper level of the fort..

The door at my back will lead to the upper level of the fort..

It was past 4 o’clock in the afternoon and the temperature was surprisingly hot and humid, but we were not bothered to tour around the mazed-like castle.

Massive walls supporting the whole fort.

Massive walls supporting the whole fort.

Each of persons had to pay 500 baizas for the entrance fee while kids were free. At this late hours and the fort was nearly closing, we were the only visitors and so we made sure that we have seen each of the fort’s compartments from the entry way to the seating areas up to the watchtowers.

stairway to the castle's tower

stairway to the castle’s tower

After few minutes I was already gasping for breath so I sat down into a majilis (seating area) on the top floor. The room is decorated with oriental carpets and colorful silk cushions lined along the wall. Series of small windows at one side capture the summer breeze and provided a viewpoint of the surrounding mountains and green trees. I love to stay in this room while gazing outside the windows.

One of the watchtowers

One of the watchtowers

We hiked to the highest tower and found a very old canyon at the deck. The view in here is superb and amazing. I requested my friends to take a snapshot of us three.

well-decoreted majilis (seating room) with colorful silk cushions

well-decoreted majilis (seating room) with colorful silk cushions

My son Andrei had his enjoyable time roaming around the fort. He tried climbing up a very delicate wooden stairs, running through the doorways, and playing around with the old canyons.

The huge dates plantation on the foot of Hajar Mountains

The huge dates plantation on the foot of Hajar Mountains

When we were finished at the fort, I immediately asked them to take a short trip to AthThawara spring in the inner part of Nakhal which is also one of the most popular tourist sites in the region.We passed through bending and very constricted road in the midst of thick dates plantation.

The three of us on the old canyon

The three of us on the old canyon

I saw beautiful houses and little kids that were waving their hands and smiling at us. It was really nice to encounter such wonderful beings and made us feel very welcome to their place.

Andrei is having his great time climbing up and down with this huge boulder rock

Andrei is having his great time climbing up and down with this huge boulder rock

Many young boys were washing their cars along the riverbank. There were also troupes that were having dinner at the designated gazebos while playing drums and dancing.

He is also having a quite time on this window

He is also having a quite time on this window

But what I am surprise about that there were donkies also being bathed. I let my son, ride with the smaller donkey and pay the little boy 200 baizas.

My husband Jesse is also having his own way of exploring the castle, like peaking into one of the towers secret passage.

My husband Jesse is also having his own way of exploring the castle, like peaking into one of the towers secret passage.

But since it was already summer and it haven’t rained for months, the water level in the spring and wadi was relatively low and little. The water came from the Silud Mountain and flowing into the valley and channeled into many tributaries to irrigate its cultivating lands.

Our good company, Gabby and Elena

Our good company, Gabby and Elena

We sat down at one of the concrete staircase that descends to the wadi at the bottom. I slowly lifted up and folded some portion of my pants then dangled my feet into the warm water.

Road Sign to Athawarah

Road Sign to Athawarah

The riverbank

The riverbank

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Andrei was giving us his funny face while riding this little donkey

Andrei was giving us his funny face while riding this little donkey

Water flowing out from the wadi pool

Water flowing out from the wadi pool

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I invited them to try what I was doing. After some, there were tiny fishes nibbling our feet and toes. It was a tickled-like feeling! I felt relieved and refreshed after being toasted of the summer heat.

Soaking our feet into the warm water of the spring

Soaking our feet into the warm water of the springNakh

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