If you haven’t heard of Al Mudhairib yet, chances are you’ve missed visiting one of Oman’s most historic villages.
Barely a couple of hour’s drive from Muscat, it is easy to underestimate Al Mudhairib and what it has to offer as a destination. First thing first though, if you’ve been to Rimal al Sharqiyah, you definitely would have passed by the village.
Al Mudhairib is one of those villages that looked so unimposing it packed a lot of surprises once you start to explore it.
From our quick escape to Al Qabil, a 10-minute drive from the souq led us to the sleepy streets of Al Mudhairib right by the stairs of an aged tower a few metres away from what the guide said is a good coffee shop.
This is where Fahar Hamood al Farsi is really from and through his Instagram, @generations_oman, he has begun to create some events to bring people to the town. In the last two years alone, he organised donkey and foot trips from the desert to the town. As the country celebrates National Day this November, he is kicking off another event that would coincide with the celebration of this important day.
Al Mudhairib is famous for being the home of the Al Harthy tribe. The village is surrounded by green farms and ruins, forts, and watch towers. Villagers mentioned that the watchtowers and the interconnected walls of the old village were built during the invasion of the Portuguese. To protect the villagers, a stronghold has to be created and thus, the watch towers served a very important purpose to deter the enemies away.
If you are willing to take a 10-minute uphill walk to the ruins, you will be awarded the best view of the Al Qabil area and you will be able to see the ruins closely. During our trip, we realised that the best time to come would definitely be early morning or sunset to avoid the heat and enjoy the view.
Within the village there is a “Cultural and Heritage House” but truth be told, all the old buildings that remain standing are on their own telling unique stories.
As Fahar pointed out, Al Mudhairib used to be homes of many different shaikhs and the abandoned houses still, to this day, store different artefacts.
A quick run around the village will reveal a lot of the village’s storied past. Several ruins are easy to access and open to all including towers and houses.
Climbing one of the towers, Fahar mentioned that the way the structures were built was very strategic primarily because the inhabitants create areas where they can fire canons and guns if a threat becomes apparent.
While the old houses in Al Mudhairib share a few things with those in Al Hamra, the noticeable difference is how the ceilings were semi-curved and each house has its own private well.
Fahar also pointed out that some of the houses have their own prison or private jail — a hole in the ground or the upper level of the house which is about 2x2 metres in size, about 10 feet high and pitch black when covered.
“These jails, these were necessary to keep things in order. If someone is being troublesome or is disrespecting and committing crimes, the families would throw them into those cells,” Fahar shared.
The structures all over the village retained their old-world charm and based on the different designs, a few of them has some foreign influences as well.
Social media influencer Amelia German who is one of the strong supporters of promoting local attractions shared that one of the houses has doors inspired by Africa because the design is used to deter elephants from banging their heads on the said door design.
Overall, Al Mudhairib is a great place to add to your list of places to visit if you love culture, history and scenic hills and gardens. You would also definitely love the rustic coffee shop where you can spend some time while watching the view of the ruins outside.