Category Archives: Nizwa

Nizwa Fort

The consolidation of political power and religious authority in Oman during the 1600’s produced new requirements for fortified buildings, including the lodging of the Imam.

Fulfilling this purpose, Nizwa Castle (built c1650) became the pulsing heart of the Imamate. Within its walls the Imam entertained important visitors, held public audiences and conducted the daily affairs of state.

A secret escape tunnel – the exact location of which is now lost in history – once led from the Imam’s private rooms to a safe location beyond the Castle’s outer wall.

High, crenelated curtain walls with loopholes and downward-angled arrow slits provided protection form musketeers and archers.

Castle guards wore outfits similar to the one below.

The Castle’s massive inner and outer gates were hewn from hardwood and reinforced with iron spikes.

A holding cell located between the fort and the castle made it possible for prisoners to be detained without passing through the main part of the Fort or Castle where they might learn of their defensive secrets. A jail for women was located outside the main gate.

Large quantities of dates were stored inside the castle as a defensive measure in case of a long siege. Date sacks were stacked in rows, one on top of the other. Pressed under their own weight, the dates oozed thick, honey like juice (‘asil) which was channeled into jars in the floor. Dates for everyday use were stored in a large earthenware jar (khars). Such jars had narrow necks to minimise exposure of their contents to sunlight, dust and pests.

Here are a couple more images of the interior of the fort.

The majority of the text was supplied from the different signs in and around the castle and fort.

 

Old Omani Cannon

Photographed at the restored fort in Nizwa the plaque behind it reads:

Omani 3-pounder cannon.
Early 17th Century, cast bronze.

This superb and unique cannon is almost certainly of Omani construction. It was probably cast at Sohar. With its intricate cartouches, it provides a talking point for Arabic scholars. It is mounted on a replica 19th-century Omani carriage found in a gun tower at Al Akdar.