Al-Dhahirah
Al-Dhahirah

Introduction

Wilayats

Archeological Sites

Traditional Arts 

--- Al-Dhahirah Governorate

It is one of the richest in its agricultural, touristic, and historical potential among all governorates. It has achieved great and tangible development during the years of the modern Omani Renaissance in all aspects of life.
Al-Dhahira Governorate is a semi-desert plain descending from the southern slopes of the Western Hajar Mountains in the direction of the Empty Quarter desert, it is also separated from the interior of Oman by the “Al-Kor” Mountains from the east, as it is merged with the Empty Quarter desert from the west, and the Central Governorate from the south.

Al-Dhahirah governorate includes three provinces: Ibri, Yanqul, and Dhank, with a population of about 240,529 people, of whom Omanis constitute about 173,327 people, reaching 72.1 percent of the total population of Al-Dhahirah governorate.The governorate has experienced significant development across all sectors during the prosperous era of His Majesty Sultan “Haitham bin Tariq”, may God protect him.This progress was made possible through his supreme directives that focused on supporting all governorates for their advancement and development, providing essential services to elevate prosperity, and aligning with the vision of "Oman 2040".This vision aims to develop communities and cities while making use of all possible opportunities in various sectors, including education and healthcare, and diversifying and sustaining the economy.

 The Al-Dhahirah Governorate comprises of three provinces - Ibri, Yanqul, and Dhank.It is a beautiful place that combines various aesthetic elements, situated in a fertile and diverse plain between the mountain, the plain, and the valley.The wide agricultural area of the governorate crowns its villages on the Western "Hajar" mountain range.Al-Dhahirah Governorate is well-connected to many other governorates of the Sultanate, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through land transport lines, making it a land port for trade lines, industry, and tourism between the governorates and neighboring countries.

The place is known for its horses, camels, traditional arts, agricultural oases, streams, springs, and traditional markets.The governorate has achieved many milestones in various aspects and purposes of life during the past decades of the blessed renaissance years.Various comprehensive development projects have strengthened the infrastructure of Al-Dhahirah Governorate, making it one of the best-looking governorates in the Sultanate.
Dhahirah Governorate is a semi-desert Omani plain, and is characterized by its slope from the southern slopes of the Western Hajar Mountains, towards the Rub’ al-Khali desert. This governorate is separated from the eastern side by the Al-Kur Mountains from the interior governorate, in addition to its connection to the Rub’ al-Khali desert on the western side. Al Buraimi from the northwestern side, and Al Wusta Governorate from the western side.
Al-Dhahirah Governorate is divided into three administrative provinces:
Ibri Province:

It is considered one of the important provinces in the Sultanate of Oman, specifically in the Dhahirah region, and is characterized by its location between latitudes 23 degrees to 23.30, from the northern side of the equator, and longitudes 56.30 degrees from the eastern side of the Greenwich line, in addition to its elevation of about two hundred meters, and it is considered one of the provinces with a picturesque and distinguished nature.It was called this name because it was the main crossing passage for commercial caravans and convoys, and it includes many commercial markets such as the “Ibri” Historical and internal market, which is characterized by the overcrowding of visitors, especially on official occasions and holidays, as it contains many important raw materials and sources such as oil, gold, marble, and natural gas.
  •  Dhank Province:
This province is characterized by the abundance of its wonderful valleys, and it was called this name because it is surrounded by many mountains from different directions, in addition to the large number of palm groves throughout it. The province consists of several villages, the most important of which are: Al-Shukri, Al-Azizi, Al-Ma'za, Al-Alaya, Al-Habib, Fadda, Dot, and Safalat Al-Wahasha, and it is inhabited by many tribes such as Al-Zaidi, Al-Badi, Al-Marboui, Al-Nayli, Al-Shukri, Al-Wahshi, Al-Saadi, Al-Badi, Al-Rabkhi, Al-Nuaimi and many others, and its population reached about 17,464 thousand people, based on counting statistics conducted in 2006. It has an area of about 2030 km2, and an estimated distance of about 270 km, to the western side of Muscat Governorate, and the number of affiliated villages and towns is about 45 villages and municipalities.
  •  Yanqul State:

It is characterized as one of the most formidable and beautiful natural provinces, in addition to being considered the transitional station between the Al-Dhahirah and Al-Batinah regions.It includes 16 fortresses and towers covering most of its areas, and its construction dates back hundreds of years.The province contains many monuments that date back to the ancient mining times in both the Raki area, and the Al-Muaiden area, in addition to its molten rocks which are frequently spread in these two areas, acting as one of the most important pieces of evidence of an ancient mining activity.Al-Hawraa mountain is considered One of the most important and famous landmarks, to the extent that it was taken as a city emblem.



Archaeological sites


 Ibri Fort                  Al-Salif Castle and Al-Salif Neighborhood         Haret Al-Raml 

Hisn Al Ainain          The archaeological site of Bat                          Iraqi Fort 

Black Fortress            Beit al-Marah Fort                                        Shaabaniyah Quarter 

Al-Waqba town          Al Munikh Fort                                            Al-Marqoo’ Neighborhood  

Bazili Fort                  Sabikha Market

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  • Ibri Fort
Al-Salif Castle and Haret
  • Ibri Fort is located in the center of Ibri, adjacent to its old market, where its construction dates back nearly 400 years.This invincible fort was established by Al-Nabahna, and its construction was completed by Sheikh “Khater bin Amer bin Rashid Al-Yaqoubi”.The fort has several entrances and gates, the most famous of which is “Sabah Al-Sensila” and another entrance called “Sabah Al-Hosn”, which is the main entrance to the fort, and “Sabah Al-Wasati”, which is used for Al-Barza.The fort has a large mosque in which Friday prayers and other prayers are still hosted.It is characterized by its historical inscriptions and ancient monuments, it has 3 towers: Al-Sarm, Al-Ghorabiya, and Sabah Al-Sensila Towers.

Castle and village of “Al-Salif”:
The castle was built in the era of the Ya'ariba’s state, and was constructed by Imam “Sultan bin Saif Al-Yarubi” in 1718 AD, 300 years ago, at the foot of Mount Shanboh, which overlooks Wadi Al-Salif.The fort is characterized by its huge wall, which surrounds it from all sides, and by its seven towers, the most famous of which is the wind tower.It is also distinguished by its ancient archaeological 110 houses, its archaeological market, and its decoration which reflects the arts of traditional Omani architecture.
The town of Al-Salif is 5 kilometers away from the center of Ibri.It is a city full of historical and natural elements and resources.It has enjoyed many achievements that added to its beauty and elegance.The town of Al-Salif has been famous since ancient times for palm trees and various agricultural crops.The Village of Al Salif is located on the southern edge of the oasis's eastern corridor, on top of a cliff of a prominent slope that gives it a magnificent view overlooking the eastern roads.The village seems to have initially come to life as a defensive stronghold position, controlling the passage leading to Ibri from the east.
Al-Salif village witnesses many changes in its population from season to season, because in the date harvest season, most of the residents live in palm groves and agricultural lands, and they do not return to their village homes until after the harvesting process is completed.The village was built at the foot of Mount Shanboh overlooking Wadi Al-Salif, during the reign of Al-Yarubi Imam, "Sultan bin Saif II" (1123-1131 AH / 1711-1718-19 AD).Given the importance of this position as an exit way to the Oasis of Ibri, it is plausible that a watchtower or defensive base can be found before the fort on the hill overlooking the valley (both of which were known as Shanboh).
  •  Raml Village: 
Raml village is one of the archaeological villages, built more than 300 years ago in the center of Ibri on the slopes and hills of Al-Raml Mount.
  •  Al Ainain Fort:
Al Ainain Fort is located along the main road between Ibri and Rustaq to the north of Ibri. It resembles the beauty and splendor of Omani architecture. 
  • Bat Archaeological Site
The historical sites are located in Bat, Al-Khatam, and Al-Ain in the governorate of Al-Dhahira, Ibri Province, and are considered archaeological and historical sites dating back to the third century BC and located to the east of Ibri.It is ranked only the second World Heritage site to be added to the World Heritage List in Oman in 1988.The site includes the tombs of the um al-Nar style in the southern part, and the graves of beehives in the northern part dating back to the third millennium BC, which resembles in their construction type the burial chambers of the “Hafeet” period.There is also a cemetery that was unearthed that contained 100 tombs built of stones and reflects the development in their construction manner from the burials of beehives to the burials of the um al-Nar period, as the beehive burial site includes between 2 to 5 burials.
The site of Bat contains 6 huge circular-shaped stone buildings distributed at the site and in the village of Bat, most of which possess a water well in the middle, and a number of them have been surrounded by a trench such as Al-Rajum tower.Mud-built rooms on stone foundations were attached to all these buildings.The buildings were built in different eras, the oldest of which dates back to the Hafeet era (3200-2700 BC), such as the Al-Khatm Tower and the Khafa Tower.
The Bat site contains 6 huge circular stone buildings distributed throughout the site and in the village of Bat. Most of them have a water well in the middle. A number of them were surrounded by a moat, such as the Rajum Tower and Tower (1156). To all of these buildings were attached rooms built of mud on stone foundations. These buildings were built in different periods, the oldest of which dates back to the Hafeet era (3200-2700 BC), such as Burj al-Khatm and Burj al-Khafa.
  •  Al Iraqi Fort
Al-Iraqi Fort is located in the center of the Iraqi town, and it has two towers: the plaster and the clay towers, and there are several rooms and stores, and three water wells.The fort is rectangular in shape, consisting of two floors.Gravel, clay, plaster, and sarooj were used in its construction.Inside the fort, there are ancient houses with service rooms, and a hospitality hall.Such houses have a special door to the east called (Al-Rawia) door which typically leads to the adjacent stream.
  • Al-Aswad Fort:
This fort is located in “Maqniyat” of “Dad Khasib” on the eastern edge of one of the valley plains, just between the folds of the mountains.It dates back to the year 972 AH and is a high invincible fort that includes four towers: the wind tower, the control and landfills tower, the morning tower, and the tower of Solomon.The entire area was dominated by this Fort, which is located on a high rocky outcrop with palm groves spreading along its slopes.There is a well-defined winding road (fenced in some areas) that leads to the terrace facing the arched entrance near the western tower, while on the northeastern side of the terrace, there is a vertical slope that reaches to the very low ground level, which makes the only road leading to the only entrance very narrow and difficult to attack or breach.
  • Bait Al Marah Fort
It is located in the heart of Wadi Yanqul in Al-Hosn village on the northeastern side of Mount “Hura” bordered to the south by Mount “Khatim”. Historical sources argued a lot about the date of its construction, one of which mentions that it was built before Islam, a second source suggests that it was built in the eleventh century AH (seventeenth century AD), while a third source says that it was built by “Makhzoum bin Falah Al-Nabhani” at the beginning of the era of the Nabahna in Amman. The fort was built with mud and stones, and the Ministry of Heritage and Culture began its restoration and rehabilitation works in 2002 using Sarooj material.

Surrounded by palm plantations, the fort is close to the remnants of an abandoned village and dates back to the seventeenth century. The walls of the fort are surrounded by a large series of buildings, among them a mosque built in the traditional style.
  • Al-Shaabania Village:
This village is one of the largest and the most important villages in the province of Yanqul, as it hosts the largest number of people at the time. This village consists of old archaeological houses inhabited by the people and has been used until recently. Father “Hamid” says that the old neighborhood houses were built with mud with palm fronds and trunks, and even the doors were manually crafted by Omanis using Sidr tree until recent years, and they persisted through all these years, as the houses remained resistant to rain and survived the age. Back in time, people used to meet each other in the morning to share Omani coffee, which has been a well-established habit since ancient times. The advantage of living in a village is that it brings everyone together as if they were one family, despite the overlap of houses with each other but it did not stand in the way of the people's cooperation in the village, which is an advantage of the Omani village’s lifestyle.
  •   Waqba town
The town of “Al-Waqba" in the province of Yanqul within the governorate of Al-Dhahira is considered one of the most beautiful towns and villages in the entire province due to its attractive tourist potential. The town is located nearly (38) kilometers from the center of the province, between several towering mountains within the Western “Hajar” mountain range. It is mountainous in nature, as it connects Al-Dhahirah Governorate with several other governorates besides Sohar Industrial Port, as well as several provinces, villages and regions.
The town of “Al-Waqba" is one of the beautiful touristic attraction sites, as there are several valleys that witness an active tourist movement, especially with the valley flow, as it offers cozy and comfortable places for rest and recreation, such as Wadi Biha and Wadi Al-Arashi. Mountain caves spread within the mountain tops attracting many hiking and climbing lovers, in addition to the presence of clear water sources that form right after the flow of valleys. The town of “Al-Waqba" is also characterized by the presence of many heritage sites and cultural landmarks such as ancient houses, which are still standing tall today with their splendor and the ingenuity of their beautiful Omani-style architecture.
The “town of Al-Waqba” is one of the beautiful tourist stations, as it has a number of valleys that witness an active tourist movement, especially with its flow, as it constitutes a suitable place for rest and recreation, such as Wadi Biha and Wadi Al-Arshi. Mountain caves are also spread on the mountain peaks, which attract many climbing lovers in addition to To the presence of clear water sources that are formed after the flow of the valleys. "Al-Waqba Town" is also distinguished by the presence of many heritage sites and cultural landmarks, such as old houses, which still stand tall today with their splendor and the ingenuity of their beautiful Omani engineering.
  •  Munaikh Fort
Al-Muneikh Fort is considered one of the heritage sites in the province of Dhank, where the length of the fort is (40) meters, and its width ranges between (30-35) meters, with a total area of (1200) square meters.
The fort consists of three towers, its main gate called “Sabah”, a general assembly hall, a group of rooms and stores, as well as visitor parking lots and lots of beautiful landscapes surrounding the fort. The Ministry of Heritage and Culture, represented by the Restoration and Conservation Department of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, has completed the restoration of Al-Munikh Fort in Dhank province in Al-Dhahirah Governorate. The restoration started in August 2013, and it was carried out in several stages, such as the stages of documentation, photography, cleaning and consolidation work, and then the preparation of detailed drawings for the restoration work, taking into account the preservation of the original building and architect style in which the fort was built while using traditional building materials such as clay, sarooj and stones. The fort was provided with all the necessary services such as electricity, air conditioning systems, and toilet facilities. For the first time, people with special needs will be able to visit the fort, as their related requirements were taken into account during the design phase of restoration activities.
  •  Al-Marqua Village:
Al-Marqua village is located in the Al-Azizi neighborhood in Dhank province within Al-Dhahirah Governorate and is characterized by many aspects of historical and touristic diversity, as Al-Marqua Village is located in the middle between its neighboring towns. It is bordered to the east by the towns of Al-Wusta and Al-Alaya, to the north by the town of Al-Ma'zaa, to the south by Al-Shakur and Al-Wahsha, and the west by the fortress of the late Sheikh “Matar bin Salem Al-Azizi”. 
  •  Bazili Fort
It is located to the west of Dhank within the governorate of Al-Dhahira at a distance of about 35 km. This fort was built in the era of Ya'ariba and its remnants still exist to this very day. The Bazili Fort is one of the ancient historical monuments of the province of Dhank, which is located in the village of Al-Bazili. A water stream is present on site, which is called “Falj Al-Bazili” and it was built during the state of Ya'ariba’s era.
  • Sabikha Market
The old "Subeikha" market in the province of Dhank within the governorate of Al-Dhahira is one of the ancient traditional heritage markets and one of the oldest markets in the whole province, where it combines originality with ancient heritage. It is also considered a large multifaceted historical heritage full of past commercial movement and surrounded by towering orchards and streams, attracting people from all near and far provinces and regions carrying whatever goods they have for sale among livestock, and summer and winter products, benefitting from its unique location next to the historical fort.
It was named Al-Subeikha Market based on the fort and was the center of attention of both traders and buyers. It is overwhelmed with many local goods and multiple products such as spices, legumes, coffee, fabrics, blacksmithing, selling livestock, fodder, ghee, honey, dates, lemon, dried fish, and fresh meat. The market has been a destination for many visitors from various regions of the Sultanate during the past years, and it has been witnessing a steady recovery economically and commercially since the seventies because of its many advantages, including its distinguished geographical location.

Traditional arts 


The traditional folk arts, such as dances and songs, in our provinces are a reflection of the cultural identity of Oman's citizens. They are also an expressive image of customs and traditions, particularly during religious and national holidays, weddings ceremonies, and other social occasions. These events witness the active participation of both genders and are prevalent in the provinces of Ibri, Yanqul, and Dhank, as well as the Hamraa Al-Drooa region. The people in these areas practice amazing, beautiful, and wonderful arts that form a masterpiece full of rhythm and poetry. Poets read poems of praise, romance, description, and pride in national and social events. The musical and percussion tools used in folk arts in Al-Dhahira Governorate are the tones of Al-Kasir, Al-Rahmani, and Al-Waqif drums, which are the most prominent.
The Art of  Ayala
It is a dance performed by two opposite rows of men. The members of each row stick well together so that they look contiguous, as each man holds the other's hand and encircles the other man’s waist with his other arm, which indicates cohesion and tribal cooperation. In the middle of the two rows, a band plays music, where its members carry many musical instruments, most of which are copper-made, such as drums, tambourines, etc., and this musical band is led by a man holding a cylindrical drum with two faces called “Kasir”, which gives a distinctive enthusiastic character of the dance appropriate for the poetry that is spelled during the dance.
The art of Al-Midan
Among the Omani folk arts that the governorate of Al-Dhahira shares with most of the governorates of the Sultanate is the art of (Al-Midan), which is one of the most famous arts in the Sultanate. It is the art of chatter or poetry, and manipulation of the Arabic language words in a poetic template, and is usually held on various social occasions such as weddings, it is also held for entertainment and time spending, while some others use it for the purpose of folk medicine for those who believe that they have been approached by something from the jinn. 
The art of “Wannah”
This kind of art is currently performed in the form of circles, where people rally around the singer who puts his hand palms on his cheek while closing his eyes and singing, then another man participates in singing, where he repeats the last verse of the section at the same way the main singer did.
The art of “Al-Taghrod”
Summarizing, the art of Al-Taghrod is a Bedouin art, which is related to camels (bush) riders while jogging (Tkhb). In the past, it was performed for night-chatters and story-telling in the Bedouin councils. “Taghrod Al-Bush” is also called “Razha Al-Bedouin” or “Razfa Al-Bedouin”, which is a collective singing in a fixed tone characterized by the elongation of the extended letters and is called Al-Taghrod (Shellat Al-Rokkab) and (Humbel Al-Rokkab) which is performed without any drums or percussion tool. It is famous in all Bedouin regions in the Sultanate and has several other names like Al-Taghrod - Al-Taghreed Al-Ghirud.
Al-Razfa Al-Badawi
It is one of the traditional arts practiced by the bedouins on their various occasions such as weddings, circumcision of male children, Eid al-Adha and Al-Fitr, and many other occasions. The Bedouin Razfa is an art practiced exclusively by Bedouin men, while women do not participate, as it is on the pattern of Razha, and while the urban has their Razha, the Bedouins also have their own. Men gather to perform the Bedouin Razfa and form two parallel opposite rows, just as in urban Razha, and then begin the singing. One of the Bedouin poets of the Razfa tells some poetry to one of the two rows, then this row starts singing as poet and using the rhythm. At the same time, the other row repeats what the first row sings so that the singing of the (Shillah) becomes mutual and synchronized between the two rows. This continues between the participants in the two rows until the poetry in the (Shillah) is completed and then everyone stops for a break, after that the other groups of Razfa start all over again.

The movement in the Bedouin Razfa consists of two elements: the movement of the participants in the two rows and the movement of the persons performing the Razfa between these two rows. Participants hold bamboo sticks or may hold rifles or swords pointing to the ground while they nod their heads up and down in repetitive moves, with light bends from the upper torso of their bodies. They may put this stick on their shoulders while performing the same moves. The movement of the persons performing Razfa between the two rows is freestyle: they roam the space between the two rows, each carrying and throwing their sword or rifle high in the air to pick it up again before it falls to the ground. Or someone might raise their rifle high and swerve it in his hands so that a full circle is drawn in the air, as what happens in other weapons parades.