Friday, October 07, 2022 | Rabi' al-awwal 10, 1444 H
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5 attractions in Bahla for that perfect Eid getaway

Photos by Abhilash Pillai

Instagram: @theimagegrapher

A trip to Bahla is an informative journey to understanding history, an exploration of authentic culture and heritage and a fascinating inside look into the local lifestyle and way of living.

Bahla is situated in Al Dhakiliyah, about 200 km away from Muscat and takes almost 2 hrs to reach by car. If you’re looking for an amazing getaway that blends culture, history and fascinating daily scenes, this is one of the must stop you must make during this long Eid holiday.

If you’re only planning for a day trip, it is highly advisable to leave Muscat at around 7:00 in the morning to fully explore the attractions highlighted below. Remember that Bahla is one of those destinations that is ripe with details and therefore must need a curious mind to fully enjoy the destination.

Bahla Pottery Factory

The pottery industry of Bahla has been very popular since ancient times. Some of the best practices in pottery making are still being used to this day, in fact, it is believed that the Bahla pottery making method is very different from all other pottery-making processes in Oman. The factory is easy to find on Google map and once in the area, you have to cross some narrow lanes passing through old Omani houses some of which are decorated with bougainvilleas. Once inside, the factory is divided into different segments which include areas like the moulding section, the decorating section, and the colouring/painting section among others.

One of the most exciting parts of a visit here is an opportunity to try making pots yourself which needed to be booked or arranged in advance. They usually do hands-on pottery making classes on a first-come-first-served basis. The pottery factory is open from 7-12 noon & 5-8 pm and you can contact them via their Instagram: @adawipottery.

Bahla Souq

On Fridays, the souq will be filled with locals which is proof that to this day, it remains to be one of the most important gathering points among the villagers. Souqs in Oman are strategically located next to forts as in history, this was the best way for authorities to monitor events, personalities and issues. While big supermarkets are popping up across Oman, many Omani families prefer to purchase their home needs on souqs as they trust the authenticity of items sold in these traditional places. In Bahla souq, elderly gentlemen still love to gather under the nearly 300-year-old tree sharing kahwa with their friends and acquaintances. Because of the recent renovations, Bahla souq is one of the well-maintained souqs with proper goods segregation system. The souq is the best place to buy quality honey, khanjar and other pottery items. It also has a lively livestock auction market that usually begins at 6 in the morning on Fridays.

Kadam Café

One amazing attraction inside Bahla souq is Kadam Cafe which has started to create social media buzz not just for its fine artisanal coffee but also because of its themed majlis areas which allow guests to take a tour around the world. The majlis included themes like Arabian and Greek, among many others. Traditional souqs in Oman have been seeing a rise in these artisanal coffee shops and the notable thing about Kadam is that it perfectly blends with the aesthetic of the whole souq. A good move to attract the younger generations, the souq is therefore navigating towards a road of relevance for modern living. What attracts many to this coffee shop is that it offers an amazing view of the nearby Bahla fort.

Bahla Fort

This is one of the historic fortresses in the country and the only fort which is listed on the Unesco World Heritage List. This fort is massive in size and has multiple towers, mosques and wells. The oldest part is the fort is called Al Qabasah which is a collection of five-story rooms. A visit to this fort will take nearly 2-3 hours. From the fort, the old mud houses and the old village is visible. Bahla fort went through a massive renovation and was reopened in 2012. Behind the fort is also a beautiful mosque that overlooks the nearby garden and offers a stunning view of the eroding Great Wall of Bahla. Both Bahla Fort and the mosque behind it offer great photo opportunities.

Bahla Wall

Some modern observers credit the construction of the Great Wall of Bahla as a way to deter Persian occupation in the region. Local stories also said that horses can run on top of the wall as it was wide enough for horse riders. Nearly 12 km in length, the wall protects oasis and palm trees that can still be seen today. While some portions of the wall are still in bad shape due to erosion, efforts to renovate and preserve can be noted in some areas. If you’re making a stop in Bahla, the wall is visible from the Bahla Fort but the experience won’t be complete if you are unable to walk through the ancient wall path. During the summer and without any protection from the sun, walking around or on top of the wall might be challenging and exhausting. Make sure to consider your health before taking any steps further but if you are willing to take an afternoon hike, it can be a fascinating trip through history.

Overall, Bahla may come as a surprise for first-time visitors. As advised, make sure to carry hats and sunglasses if you’re planning a day tour in the area. Lunch is served at the nearby food joints surrounding the souq. If you don’t have any plans for the Eid yet and wanted to bring your family to a historical trip in one of Oman’s beautiful places, this is a place you must add to your list.

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