Nizwa

View from the tower of Nizwa Fort

Nizwa is a historic city in Northern Oman.

Understand

Nizwa was the capital of Oman in the 6th and 7th century, and is known as one of the first cities in Oman to convert to Islam. For centuries it was a seat of conservative Islamic scholarship, and was considered to be so hostile to outsiders that even in the mid-20th century the explorer Wilfred Thesiger was forced to abandon his attempts to visit the city.

In the 1950s Nizwa revolted against the Sultan of Muscat; this was eventually suppressed with the aid of British forces. Since the 1970s it has quickly modernized, yet managed to retain its traditional character in its newer architecture. Today the city is known for date cultivation, the most highly prized varieties of which are khalas and khumaizi.

Nizwa is located at the base of the Hajar Mountains, and can be a good base for day trips into the mountains or nearby wadis. It is now after Muscat the second city most visited by foreigners.

Get in

Nizwa is about 1 hr 30 min southwest of Muscat on Highway 15. For travelers driving from Al Ain in the UAE, it is just over a 3 hr drive on Highway 21.

See

Nizwa Fort

Do

Local crafts for sale at the souq

Buy

Nizwa is famous for its handcrafted silver khanjars (daggers), and noted for silver craftsmanship in general. You can find good pieces at the souq, but you'll have to bargain hard. The souq is also a good source for antiques, including Maria Theresa thalers, once used as Oman's official currency.

Vanilla, saffron, spices, dried lemons and nuts of all types are also good purchases, and can be found in the older section of the souq. This is also a good place to pick up some of Nizwa's prized dates.

Eat

Sleep

Go next

Bahla with its magnificent fortress is just a half-hour drive to the west. Also close by is the old village of Al Hamra, and scenic Misfat which is the starting point for several good hiking trails. Jebel Shams with Wadi Ghul, and the mountain villages of the Saiq Plateau, can all be visited as day trips from Nizwa.


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 08, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.