World Heritage Sites

Bahla Fort

Date of Inscription: 1987
N22 57 51.012 E57 18 3.996


Bahla is one of four historic fortresses situated at the foot of the Djebel Akhdar highlands in Oman. It was built in the 13th and 14th centuries, when the oasis of Bahla was prosperous under the control of the Banu Nebhan tribe. The fort’s ruined adobe walls and towers rise some 165 feet above its sandstone foundations. Nearby to the southwest is the Friday Mosque with a 14th-century sculpted mihrab. The fort was not restored or conserved before 1987, and had fallen into a parlous state, with parts of the walls collapsing each year in the rainy season. Restoration works began in the 1990s, and more than £6m were spent by the Omani government from 1993 to 1999. It remained covered with scaffolding and closed to tourists for many years. The Fort at Bahla, together with the nearby forts at Izki and Nizwa, and one further north at Rustaq, were centres of Kharajite resistance to the “normalisation” of Caliph Harun al-Rashid. The town of Bahla, including the oasis, suq and palm grove, is itself surrounded by adobe walls some 12 km long. The town is well known for its pottery.

Archaeological Sites of Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn

Date of Inscription: 1988
N23 16 11.496 E56 44 42


Located to the east of Welayat Ibri. Archaeological excavations commenced in 1976. Two types of cemetries were discovered in Bat Necropolis: Umman – Nar Tomb and the “Beehive Tomb”, dated back to 3000 B.C. Important findings include objects of red pottery ware (from Jamdat – Nasr Pottery Type of Mesopotamia) and other red colour pottery of good quality decorated with horizontal black lines in addition to pottery objects with holders for hanging some of carnelian beads and copper flakes were found in the site.

Land of Frankincense

Date of Inscription: 2000
N18 15 11.988 E53 38 51.324


Dhofar, the Land of Frankincense has remained, since the earliest times, as the principle source of production and exportation of the finest and most famous varieties of incense. This land had numerous names: the land of A’ad, the country of Punt and the country of Al-Shahr. It is assumed that Ahqaf (or sandy land), mentioned in the Holy Quran represented the Dhofar region. The area was well known by the Pharaohs, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Hindus and Chinese. The Greeks referred to the coast as “Omana”. Others called it by different names and established trade relations, describing its coast as the “frankincense coast’. The site includes frankincense trees and the remains of a caravan oasis, which were crucial to the medieval incense trade.

Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman

Date of Inscription: 2006
N22 59 56 E57 32 9.8


Aflaj are an important heritage that illustrates the diligence and determination of the Omani people in building a civilization and enriching global human heritage. This unique water system gave a boost to agriculture in Oman, which represents, alongside fishing, a heritage that enabled Omanis to establish an inveterate civilization throughout centuries and provided subsistence for generations who survived in harsh climatic and environmental conditions. The property includes five aflaj irrigation systems, namely: Falaj Daris in Willayat Nizwa, Falaj Al-Khatmeen in Niabat Birkat Al-Moaz in Willayat Nizwa, Falaj Al-Malaki in Willayat Izki, Falaj Al-Mayssar in Willayat Al-Rustaq and Falaj Al-Jeela in Willayat Sur. Aflaj rise from within mountains, flowing down in channels like waterfalls and passing through vast hills and plains to bring life to land and spread greenness and foliage all around. Aflaj date back more than two thousand years, during which Omanis developed special tools and means that enabled them to maintain these aflaj and create new ones that meet the growing subsistence demands and the development of agriculture which has always been an important part of Oman’s economy despite being short on rainfall. Providing fresh water has been a major challenge faced by Omani generations who insisted on overcoming any obstacles to preserve the cherished heritage of agriculture.