Al Alia, a charming village located on the banks of Wadi Bani Kharus in South Al Batinah, attracts visitors from all over Oman for its moderate weather in summer and heritage.
This village is blessed by the monsoon rains during the summer as it is nestled in the heights of the Eastern Hajar Mountains.
It is famous for the diversity of high-quality crops such as mangoes, grapes, pomegranates, peaches, apricots, figs and olives due to fertile soil and freshwater.
The farmers sell their products to the local markets near the village including those in Al Awabi and Al Rustaq.
There are many archaeological and historical sites in this village. Bait Al Sarooj, Bait Al Khatma and Bait Sanaa are found on the northern mountains of the village. There are also a number of watch towers that were used to secure the village. On one of the trails is the tomb of an Omani Imam, Shaikh Ja'id bin Khamis al Kharusi, a poet, writer and jurist.
Most of these historical sites, including towers and walls made of mud and stones, have fallen prey to the elements. There are modern houses built on the ruins of the old village, and the residents still practice agriculture and animal husbandry.
There are many trekking trails in this village. These trails are lined aflaj built on the banks of the valley. These trails provide an opportunity for panoramic views. Standing high on the mountain slopes, one can enjoy the natural beauty of this village, which is a green oasis of dozens of varieties of local fruits and vegetables. This village is also home to trees such as Al Sidr and Al Atm.
Among the slopes of these mountains live wolves, ibex, Arabian Tahr, and dozens of species of insects, reptiles and birds.
"People here are simple and bound by social solidarity. We never hesitate to maintain agricultural facilities. We have restored old aflaj, which are sometimes damaged by rains and floods, to ensure the flow of water to our farms,” residents said.
"We are proud to welcome many tourists of different nationalities to this village. We do not hesitate to answer all their questions and inquiries, and often guide them to the beautiful sites."
Al Alia is a model for mountain villages in the Sultanate of Oman. Its climate is mild in summer, its fresh products are in great demand, and its historical sites attract specialists in history and geology.
Al Alia is located 26 km from the centre of the Wilayat of Al Awabi and 150 km from Muscat. It got its name because it is located at the top of Wadi Bani Kharus.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY YAHYA AL SALMANI