The first ever Omani site to be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bahla is a small Oasis settlement situated in the Dakhliya region of Oman. Although the settlement is constituted of traditional vernacular houses (harats), the fortification wall, a small old market (souq), the Falaj system (irrigation) and a mosque, the Oasis of Bahla is most popular for its defensive complex, the Bahla fort. The fortress wall which is 12 kms long encloses the entire town. It is one of the oldest forts of Oman tracing back to the 13th century. The small town is also popular for its pottery and silver artefacts sold in the old souq. The Oasis settlement is found to be situated 40 kms from Nizwa and 200 kms from the country’s capital Muscat.
Bahla has been an interesting part of many Arabic legends. It is a popular belief that Bahla was where the birth of Jinn (black magic) took place. Although the residents deny any such connection, there are several legends about black magic being practiced here. Bahla is a fine example of a fortified oasis settlement of the medieval Islamic period. It’s a representation of a defensive architectural ensemble that enabled dominant tribes to achieve prosperity in the desert during medieval times. A spectacular view of the entire oasis settlement with palm groves can be caught from the Western side, near the Jabrin entrance. There is also a weekly sale of animals happening at the old souq where, everyone from the town gather to sell their cattle.
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