Jaalan Bani Bu Hassan, a wilayat in the Sharqiyah South Governorate, is located 300 kilometres away from Muscat. It borders Al Kamil W’al Wafi in the north, Sur in the northeast, Bidiya in the west, Mahout in the southwest and Jaalan Bani Bu Ali in the south. The wilayat comprises 197 villages that are reputed for geographical diversification and several of archaeological, historical, tourist and economic landmarks. Various wadis that outflow from the wilayats of Ibra like AL Qabal, Bediah and Wadi Bani Khalid permeate the wilayat.
The majority of the people in the wilayat are engaged in agriculture, which is one of the main crafts practiced in the area. There are other crafts including gold and silverware making, swords, daggers, smithery, Omani sweet, pottery, handicrafts, tanning, spinning, fishing nets, camel and horse breeding. Jaalan Bani Bu Hassan is famous palm tree cultivation, in addition to Seasonal agriculture. The wilayat is also famous for its purebred Arabian horses and skill of its riders who showcase their horses in weddings, festivals and various social events. The wilayat has many tracks for horse racing.
The natural features of the wilayat are varied; most notable one is the mountain of Kahwan in the eastern Hajar Mountains, which is to be adopted as a natural preserve for rare Arabian Tahr. There are also several caves in the mountain.
The maritime nature of the wilayat is a unique place with a number of beautiful coastal villages on the coastline embracing the Arabian Sea, while the sand dunes’ environment reflects the vibrant Bedouin landscape.
The wilayat comprises a conglomeration of watchtowers, old fortified houses, forts and ancient plantation walls, all of which lie crumbling in various states of beloved dereliction. There has been little attempt to court the modern world and none at all to woo the visitor, making a visit to these sites all the more rewarding. Look out for elaborately painted metal doors and traditional carved wooden gates sported by the town’s residences — both are a feature of the region. Located in the heart of the Al Mahyoul neighbourhood, which is in the middle of the wilayat, the historic fort is one of the beautiful examples of Omani architecture.
The fort was once the centre of the local government in the Wilayat of Jaalan Bani Bu Hassan. The fort was renovated in three stages. It was rebuilt in the reign of Sayyid Said bin Sultan in the nineteenth century on the ruins of the old fort, which dates back to the reign of Imam al Muhanna bin Jaiffar in the ninth century AD. The fort was restored in the prosperous reign of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos in 1991. The restoration took four years to complete.
Brown signs dot the edge of town, wistfully stating ‘You are on the fringe of the sands’. Tracks lead from either town into a uniquely wooded area of the Sharqiya Sands but should not be attempted without a guide as these routes are seldom explored by visitors and it is easy to get lost or mired in sand. The visitor enjoys viewing picturesque natural oasis, springs, aflajs and caves that beautifully smarten the wilayat. The wilayat, additionally, encompasses coastal villages like Al Juwairah, Al Quroon, Gshair, Khaid and Bander Hamdain.