YAHYA AL SALMANI –
Misfat al Abriyeen is a quaint village surrounded by mountains and a getaway for visitors wanting to spend some time at the stone dwellings that still exist. The village is located in the Wilayat of Al Hamra and is about 250 km from Muscat. The stone houses overlook the date trees that grow on small terraced fields on the sides of a steep wadi.
A path winds around the old houses and into the date palm oasis. Here, water from a falaj irrigates date, banana, citrus and other fruits.
Recognising the tourist potential of the village, which is surrounded by mountains, many coffee shops and restaurants have sprung up in the area. They provide various types of local food, including fresh dates, shuwa and qabooli that reflect the traditional Omani dishes.
However, some parts of the village need major restoration as they have almost collapsed.
“The houses are owned by locals and the authorities have formed a coordination committee to find the right solution,” say locals.
A cleaning campaign is required in many areas, where waste remains strewn. “This sends out a wrong message to the visitors,” the say.
The Ministry of Tourism has installed signboards at different locations that asks visitors to respect the village’s culture and preserve the surrounding agricultural environment.
Although many houses in the village have been affected by the extreme weather conditions, its doors and windows reflect the old architectural style, the kind used in the construction of Omani castles and forts in various wilayats across the Sultanate.