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Nizwa

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Our Editorial team's advice

Nizwa used to be the Omani capital city. Located in the heart of an oasis, at the gate of caravan tracks in the north and the south, Nizwa was always a control point for commercial routes. It holds one of the world's oldest mosques (which it is not possible to visit) and a newly renovated fort. On your walk around the ramparts, the view stretches over the palm groves and the lush green surroundings, with, in the foreground, the mosque's blue dome. Do not miss out on the camel market in the morning, where the inhabitants of every region come to buy animals, fodder, vegetables, dates and kitchenware.

To see

The landscapes of Nizwa are magnificent. The deep canyons harbouring ancient villages are to be admired, as are the cultivated terraces. Built in the 17th century, the fort of Nizwa is distinguished by a huge tower that dominates the city and the palm grove. One of the oldest mosques in the world (not open to the public), the camel market every Friday morning, and the Nizwa souk.

To do

A hike, a bike ride or a donkey ride in the mountains of Jebel Shams, swimming in the Tanuf springs in the Hajar Mountains. The fortified village of Bahla as well as the 17th century Jabrin Fort, 28 miles from Nizwa, are worth the trip. Watching the stars in an unmarred sky.

pros

  • +  The ideal location for excursion (Hajar Mountains, the desert, swimming in the springs, the forts, etc.).
  • +  The cultural wealth of Nizwa (fort, mosque, camel market).

cons

  • -  Nizwa is far from the sea.
  • -  The isolated location far from Muscat and the airport.

To think about

The souk of Nizwa should be visited in the morning when there is more going on.

To avoid

Do not photograph the women, even veiled, without asking their permission.

To try

The country boasts more than 60 varieties of dates. To finish off the meal, coffee (flavoured with cardamom) is served in mini-porcelain cups (containing barely a gulp). It is served with the famous halva, a typical sweet from Oman made with brown sugar, water, flour, eggs, milk and rosewater, and scented with spices (cardamom, saffron, almonds or cashews).

To bring back

The souk of Nizwa is famous for its pottery.
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