Nizwa, Oman

The enchanting oasis city of Nizwa is located in the heart of Oman in Al Dakhiliah (the interior) region about 165 km southwest of Muscat, the capital city. It lies in the middle of a breathtaking mountainous region and is an excellent starting point for trips into Oman's deserts from the north of the country. During the 6th and 7th centuries, it was the capital and has managed to preserve the flavor and richness of its quintessential Omani-styled buildings.

Nizwa is renowned for its beautiful architecture and the mighty fort that stands tall over the city. Nizwa Fort was built in the 17th century by Sultan bin Saif Al-Yaruba, the first Imam (ruler) of the Ya'ruba dynasty on top of the remains of a previous castle dating back to the 9th century, it is the biggest fort in the Arabian Peninsula. Famous for its round guard tower - it has a diameter of 45 meters and is 34 meters taller than any of the other fortifications - the fort has been painstakingly restored to its former glory and is now home to an interesting museum that presents Omani history and traditions.

Nizwa Souq

Nizwa's importance as a trading site is still demonstrated today by its outstanding souq, one of the most beautiful and bountiful in the country, showcasing a selection of items made from wood, clay and precious metals, as well as meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and spices. It is the perfect place to buy beautiful, original souvenirs.

From dawn until 9am on Fridays, there is the unmissable sight of a large cattle market. Bedouins from a number of different tribes flock here to buy and sell camels and other animals. Viewing the Friday markets in Nizwa transports visitors back in time and is a great addition to an Oman experience.