MUSCAT: Coinciding with the khareef season in Dhofar Governorate, the Ministry of Tourism has added Mirbat Fort to the list of cultural tourist attractions. It has now been opened.
The decision was taken in view of the tourists’ interest in historical and cultural monuments. The ministry is trying to prepare castles and forts to promote cultural tourism.
As part of the strategy, it has successfully readied many castles and forts in various governorates of the Sultanate and opened them for the public.
Abdullah al Dhahli, Assistant Director-General for the Development of Historical Sites and Tourism Products at the ministry, said it was “fortunate” that the opening of the fort coincided with the start of khareef season in the Dhofar Governorate this year.
He said the fort was a “valuable addition to the governorate’s tourism”. Al Dhahli said the fort is an architectural masterpiece situated 80 km from the centre of Salalah.
It is strategically located on the coast of the Wilayat of Mirbat overlooking the Arabian Sea.
It was built to protect the wilayat and its inhabitants.
According to historical sources, it was built in the 13th Century AH/19th Century AD.
It was constructed on the orders of the Sultan Said bin Taimur for the fortification on the northern side after the 1948 floods.
Al Dhahli said the ministry was developing and using castles and forts for tourism as a strategy to highlight these historical landmarks to tourists.
Sultan al Makhmari, Acting Director of Department of Historical Sites, said the ministry has prepared and developed the fort as an integrated exhibition of a number of historical aspects.
Traditional crafts of the local community and historical, geological, architectural and social life have been showcased through media and technology. He said the fort is unique in terms of its location.
There are beautiful beaches in front of the fort. Visitors can take pictures of beaches, boats and old houses surrounding it.
There is also a traditional Mirbat market or souq as well as a port from where frankincense and horses were exported to India and China. The Ministry of Tourism has made a lot of efforts to collect and document historical information and present it to the tourists visiting the fort.
It has information and stories of ancient Wilayat of Mirbat, said Al Makhmari.
He said the ministry wanted to prepare and develop the fort in coordination with the local community.
Therefore, there was significant participation from the local associations, including Omani Women’s Association of Mirbat and handicraft industries, which supplied local handicrafts to the fort.
Al Makhmari said: “We hope this project will be a cultural centre and attraction for tourists coming to the wilayat. It will be beneficial for the people of the wilayat who will be able to market their crafts among them.”
He said the permanent exhibition project in Mirbat Fort was to lay emphasis on the values of tolerance, love and peace.
The fort, he said, was prepared for visitors in a way where there can be more and more interaction with them with information and historical facts of the wilayat.
There are 3D animated walls that show historical pieces, models and images of furnishings of the fort.
It is supported by audio and video materials, projectors, special screens, and sound and lighting system inside and outside the fort. Al Makhmari said the fort contains many archaeological collections that show the tools used in the ancient times.
They play an important role in highlighting Omani identity and the genius of the locals in the different industries — silver, pottery, weapons and tannery.