News Column

Major heritage sites of Oman documented

September 2, 2014

FAIZUL HAQUE



Muscat: In what could be a major attraction for tourists interested in archaeology and heritage sites across the world, more than a thousand historical sites and clusters have been documented

in Oman.



The process of preservation of 25 sites of major historical significance will begin soon, said Salim bin Mohammad Al Mahrouqi, undersecretary for heritage affairs in the Ministry of Heritage and Culture yesterday.



Talking to reporters, he said that the ministry has published a detailed study of five of the historical residential clusters. These include Harat Al Saybani, Harat Al Sulayf, Harat Al Aqr along with Harat Al Yemen and Harat Al Fanja scattered in Bahla, Ibri and Birkat Al Mawz, Fanja and Izki in various governorates and wilayats of the country.



Some of these heritage sites and historical clusters, connected with other sites in the country, are part of Unesco's World Heritage list.



He said that the number of documented sites is 1,096. There are also nine other sites which are being registered.



They are Harat Al Mudhairib in Wilayat Al Qabil, Harat Al Jilah in Taiwi, Harats of Al Sawawina and Al Barashish in Sinaw along with Harat Sija in Samael, Hujrat Muslimat of Wadi Al Maawil, Harat Qasri of Rustaq and Harat Al Khabt in Khaboura.



The entire process is being done in co-operation with Sultan Qaboos University, Nizwa University, Britain'sNottingham Trent University and Manchester Metropolitan University.



The study being carried out by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture will be available for discussion in Nizwa which has been declared the capital of Islamic culture for 2015, said the undersecretary.



The heritage and culture ministry is committed to the study and preservation of rich heritage through careful listing, documentation, analysis and conservation.



 It aims to develop strategic master plans for their adaptive reuse. The ministry has been engaged in the establishment of a comprehensive inventory of settlements, he said.



Talking to Times of Oman, Professor Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, of the Manchester School of Architecture of the Manchester Metropolitan University, said that these sites have enormous historical importance.



They are scattered all across Oman and look alike, but every single dwelling is different from each other in terms of design and facilities.



Each house is different. Numerous houses don't have courtyards. In central Oman only a few houses have courtyards and some of them are three-storied.



While many of them have wells, in Izki there are no wells.



Design and facilities differ from each other and there are beautiful and interesting features in all these settlements, he said.



Reporter can be reached at faiz@timesofoman.com




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Source: Times of Oman


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