Manah: Harat Al Bilad (Al Bilad Neighbourhood) in the Wilayat of Manah in the Governorate of Al Dakhiliyah is one of the most famous and oldest archaeological cities in Oman. It dates back to about the fifth century AH and includes 376 houses and nearly 250 wells. It shows the fine craftmanship of ancient Omanis. The hara’s walls and structures stand intact against the march of time.
The historical researcher Khalfan bin Salim al Busaidi from Manah wrote in his book “Grants and Gifts in the History of the people of Manah,” that the scholar Shaikh Nejad bin Ibrahim is one of the first who lived in the hara and established Al Hara Al Yamania (Al Yamania Neighbourhood) in 470 AH, adding that he gave the hara many names, such as Manah Fort and Fort of bin Nejad, adding that the fort saw active intellectual activities and reproduction of many Fiqh books and encyclopaedias.
Harat Al Bilad is located in the middle of the Wilayat of Manah with its architectural style, which represents a model of the old Omani villages and haras. The visitors of the hara, when entering the main door from the north will find Bab Al Sabah, (Morning Gate), which was built close to the Wilayat’s market, in addition to other doors scattered throughout the hara like Bab Al Qasab, Bab Al Nasr, Bab Al Rawla and Al Burj and Bab Al Dujain.
Inside the hara stands the long corridor that divides the hara into two halves, east and west, through the lanes, corners, corridors, narrow alleys, balconies, arches, gates and Sibla (public council) of sons of Rashid, Sibla al Mutaila and the Bustan Sibla, where the people of Al Hara used to meet.
Harat Al Bilad includes 4 old mosques spread along its central passage: Al Ali, Al Ain, Al Shara, Al Rahba, and several schools of memorisation and teaching of the Holy Quran, in addition to a furnace that was used in certain occasions, and water springs, like Ain Bani Nejad, named after Shaikh Nejad bin Ibrahim al Bilad spring which is a Waqaf.
In the field of defence and protection of the hara, it has its strong fence that surrounds it from all sides. The people were interested in this fence because it is the first line of defence for them and the hara against dangers, in addition to the defence towers scattered and take a cylindrical shape, some of them are built of clay and the other of plaster. They are united with fences and consists of several floors with several openings and windows used for defence and enemy surveillance.
The Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) on October 20, handed over the Harat Al Bilad project, which was recently restored by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, to Al Amara Al Ariqa Company, an Omani company.
This is part of the agreement signed between the two parties to operate this heritage site. Al Amara Al Ariqa Company, under this agreement, undertakes all the management of this historical hara that attracts a lot of tourists as it is one of the ancient cultural settlements in the Sultanate. — ONA