Nakhal Fort, Oman

Seemingly growing out of the uncut rock on a platform commanding the small village of Nakhal and an important route to the south in Al Batinah region, Nakhal Fort is one of Oman's most dramatic forts and a remnant of a time when Oman was ruled by the Portuguese nearly 400 years ago. In many ways it is unlike many of its Omani counterparts and has many affinities with western European castle building traditions. It comprises 6 towers joined by a high wall with a 7th free standing tower in its midst. Once inside, the high walls make storming the inner part of the castle extremely difficult.

Nakhal Fort has a very long history. The site was fortified in the pre-Islamic period but nothing remains today. A fort on this site was certainly in use by the early 9th century and restoration and renovation work was carried out in the 12th to 15th centuries. It was restored again in the 16th century by the Ya'ruba Imams and in the 19th century towers, a gate and wall were added.

It was heavily fortified in the 19th century when Colonel S. B. Miles wrote about approaching Nakhal Fort: "rounding an angle we were now confronted with the massive ramparts of the fortress, which, warned by the watch tower, immediately began to fire salutes a battery of 12-pounder iron guns, the sound of which reverberated sharply from the rocky walls of the glen".

Nakhal Fort, like most castles in Oman, was the home of the wali (governor) and his family with rooms for both his children and family.