Sumhuram Archaeological Park

Sumhuram Archaeological Park

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Time Required : The required time to go through the entire park will nominally take two hours

Sumhuram Archaeological Park, Salalah Overview

Lying amongst one of the marvellous bays of Dhofar, was once one of the chief trading ports of frankincense, Khor Rori (almost 2000 years ago) which is now the Sumhuram archaeological park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site lies 25 miles east of Salalah on a hilltop which overlooks the beautiful freshwater creek of Khor Rori. The park itself is fascinating to visit as it is both a museum and an archaeological park. You can see the archaeologists at work around the ruins, excavating this historical place.

Visitors are most likely to witness ongoing excavations and archaeologists busting around in the sand tagging along with historians who pass out instructions. Saunter through the gallery’s museum and learn the reminiscent history dating from first century BC to third century AD.

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 Sumhuram Archaeological Park
 Sumhuram Archaeological Park

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Thins to See at Sumhuram Archaeological Park

  • Being the conduit of trade in the Dhofar region, the Sumhuram Park inculcates some fascinating ancient history. It is a blend of museum and an archaeological site, you would get to see antiques and archaeologists at work.

  • The views of the ruins are breath-taking since the archaeologists have to spend a hard time in thoroughly excavating and restoring it. The exotic location (between a beautiful coast and top hills) of this already excellent site adds on like an icing on the cake.

  • The ruins of the city still stand neat on the hilltop over the waters of Khor Rori. You can see rectangular white buildings which are enclosed by unassailable walls carved out of roughly chopped limestone slabs.

  • The entrance to the city is permitted by a small gateway (remains of it) which was built back in the 19th century. The gateway has inscriptions carved on it in ancient South Arabic Musnad alphabet. These beautifully carved inscriptions signify the celebrations involved during the city’s foundation.

  • As you move further inside, you would find remnants of a well-engineered town. Mainly, the city is divided into residential, commercial, and religious areas. There is also a maze of tightly packed small buildings, the remnants of which still stand.

  • There is a temple, the Temple of Sin (the Mesopotamian moon god) which has strikingly survived and is in the best condition as compared to others. The temple is built against the city’s northwestern wall, and finely carved household items could be found within like the limestone basin in the ritual ablution room.   

  • There’s also a monumental building which stands near the city’s centre, close to which is the city’s primary freshwater reservoir and well. Moreover, at the rear side, you can find a small sea gate which was used for transportation of goods down to boats on the water below.

History Behind Sumhuram Archaeological Park

The region of Khor Rori/ Sumhuram was founded in the late 19th century by James Theodore Bent during his travels. This region, along with the nearby city of Zafar, was one of the important ports of Southern Arabia and also an important channel for the international frankincense trade network.

Ruins at the Sumhuram Park
Source
Primarily, Khor Rori was an ancient archaeological site near Salalah, which soon was fortified and founded as an outpost for the kingdom of Hadhramaut during the end of the first century BC. Later, in the first century, Khor Rori developed into a city. Since the Dhofar region was a salient source of frankincense in the ancient period, sources say that the area was fortified mainly to control the trade of this valuable source. The fortification was done by Hadramite traders from Yemen from the 4th-century B.C.E to the 5th century B.C.E.

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