NIZWA (نِزْوَى)

The historic town of Nizwa, with its giant fort and high-walled souq, lies on a plain surrounded by a thick palm oasis and some of Oman’s highest mountains. It was the seat of factional imams until the 1950s. Nizwa, or the ‘Pearl of Islam’ as it’s sometimes called, is still a conservative town, however, and appreciates a bit of decorum from its visitors.

We parked next to one of the oldest souqs in the country. This extensive marketplace is mainly dedicated to fruit and vegetables, meat, and fish, all housed in separate blocks behind the great city wall. Part of the souq (nearest the fort) is dedicated to handicrafts and caters specifically to the passing tourist trade.

We visited a massive fort built over 12 years in the 17th century by Sultan Bin Saif Al Yaruba, the first imam of the Yaruba dynasty. Nizwa Fort (entrance 5 OMR) is famed for its distinctive 40m-tall round tower. We climbed to the top of the tower to scale the surrounding date plantations and to admire the view of the Hajar Mountains that loom over the town. After the sunset, we ate dinner at Liwan Nizwa (Chicken quesadilla, lentil soup, water, and lemon-mint juice – 4,15 OMR).

Parking location – Nizwa: 22.931819N 57.533289E