Thursday 23 February 2012: Road Trip Day 1
We Drove from Abu Dhabi to Muscat via Al Ain and Nizwa (600km), down the west side of the Al Hajar Mountains (Arabic for stone mountains) in northeastern Oman. They are the highest mountain range in the eastern Arabian peninsula. They separate the low coastal plain of Oman from the high desert plateau, and lie 50-100 km inland from the Gulf of Oman coast.
The Jebel Akhdar, (Arabic for The Green Mountain), also known as the camals hideout. The highest point, Jabal Shams (the mountain of the sun), is around 3,000 metres (around 9,800 feet) high. It is the highest point in Oman and the whole of eastern Arabia.
Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman (and former Capital of Oman) and it is a center of trade, religion, education and art. Nizwa acquired its importance because it has been an important meeting point at the base of the Western Hajar Mountains. Set amid a verdant spread of date palms, it is strategically located at the crossroads of routes linking the interior with Muscat and the lower reaches of Dhofar thus serving as the link for a large part of the country.
Nizwa fort was built in the 1668 A.D by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya'rubi. It is Oman's most visited national monument. The fort was the administrative seat of authority for the presiding Imams and Walis in times of peace and conflict. The main bulk of the fort took about 12 years to complete and was built above an underground stream. The fort is a reminder of the town's significance through turbulent periods in Oman's long history. It was a formidable stronghold against raiding forces that desired Nizwa's abundant natural wealth and its strategic location at the crossroads of vital routes.