Oman Observer

A photowalk to bygones

At the crack of dawn, a group of youngsters from Muscat hit the road to Sinaw.
Two sign boards, Harat al Nizar and Jarnan Cave, caught their attention.
They were on a photo walk to Oman’s busiest and famous market, the Sinaw Souq, via Izki.
The ‘Thursday only’ souq, though not much popular than the one in Nizwa, is said to be one of the most important markets in the Sultanate.

Izki comprises many villages and prominent among them being Al Yemen, Al Nizar, Imty, Quareet, Saima, and Maqzzah. Al Nizar is regarded as the biggest and oldest dwelling village in Oman. The heritage village of Al Nizar is an old settlement that embraces several towers used as cemeteries in the bygone era.
Several of these towers and buildings made of clay caught the eye of the photographers.
They were intrigued by the archaeological remnants which stand part of history as witness to the heritage of this ancient wilayat.
The village has about 142 towers and three castles; one of them is Al Awamer while two others are located in the village of Al Qaryatayn.
Abdul Azeez Pulikkool, a training manager, and a photography enthusiast, likes shooting archaeological and heritage sites. He coaxed his friends to move in the direction of the towers at Harat al Nizar and Jarnan Cave and shoot them on the camera. The excitement among the four friends reached its peak.
“The group indulges in such photo walks to boost creativity by movement and exposure to changing scenery,” says Abdul Azeez. They decided to visit the place which finally proved its worth in the end.
Harat al Nizar is a heritage village located in the Wilayat of Izki in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, nearly 120 km from Muscat.
Al Nizar is an ancient settlement in the heart of Izki, near to Izki Castle believed to be built in 1884.
Below Al Nizar village lies Jarnan Cave which according to legend was once home to a golden calf.
Unfortunately, the photo enthusiasts could not reach the cave due to some technical snag developed during their way. They also noticed that people in the town were not much interested to talk much about the cave.
Like the other ancient settlements in the Sultanate, Al Nizar features the integration of its architectural formations and units, whether civilian, religious or defence, notes Abdul Azeez.
He spent quite a time picturising the location with his Canon EOS 5D Mark camera. The spot he says stands as a ‘model and an integral part of the traditional Omani architecture’ that reflects one of the stages of evolution of neighbourhoods in the Sultanate.
There are over 100 homes in this locality with alleys of houses, wells, towers, and a fortified gate interrupting the neighbourhood wall and its adjoining homes that gives an additional protection. As dusk engulfed the day, the tired looking gang decided to call it a day and drove back to Muscat.
The team was a bit disappointed that their outing to Izki failed without a visit to the mesmerising Jarnan Cave.
They have charted out plans to visit the cave sooner as it is one of the must-see caves. The Jarnan Cave holds great importance for local residents who can share endless stories and fables about the Jin and other mysteries of the cave.
An amateur but serious photographer, Abdul Azeez has a wide range of interests, including landscapes, tradition, culture, portraits, sports, fashion and wildlife. He also leads photo walks with photographers having interest in heritage sites.
A Camarena Academy Photography Award winner, Abdul Azeez is a member of Friday Shoot Out (FSO) Muscat, with some exceptional works to his credit.

Text by Liju Cherian and
pictures by Abdul Azeez Pulikkool