swati basu das –
With the history of the Sultanate dating back to thousands of years, peacefully and artfully embedded within nature of the mesmeric and rugged valleys of Al Hamra lays Misfah Al Abryeen.
Located 1000 metres above sea level, this desert mountain oasis is a hub of life where culture, tradition and agriculture transpire and meld together surrounded by valley gorge that offers the most soothing green view. Here, the smell of mud, mild breeze and the refreshing green shades provide a motility of homecoming.
Complementing nature are the almost 200 years old, preserved, loved and still surviving old houses that not only grab the attention of the tourists but to this day remain to be the source of pride among the locals who despite the the passage of time, have kept their tradition and culture and have foster the greenery which are now both appreciated by travelers and passersby alike.
Named after the Al Abri tribe who inhabited this valley of the Al Dakhiliya region, it was founded while they were crossing over the mountainous path almost 2000 years.
Misfah Al Abryeen has become a place to stay and explore. Here, people have deep concern for their tradition and greeting people with a cordial smile has become a prominent custom.
Here, they also are proud of their traditional Omani cuisines as live stocks and crops are fed well with water running through the oldest falaj system of irrigation that makes the valley bountiful.
The water of the falaj flows through narrow channels, winding out from a spring, which is a 30 minutes’ walk from the main village entrance.
“The water of this lovely spring is considered to have come from a secret source from within the Hajjar mountains, the location of which remains unknown,” says Haitham Al Abri, manager of Misfah Old house.
As the summer heat intensified during this time of the year and with the Eid holidays, Misfah Al Abryeen beaconed to people from various parts of the Sultanate and the neighboring areas who are seeking a cooling retreat.
The entwining road that one takes out of the city of Bahla, driving further up the route to the top, one will have the general view of the oldest town. On its own, embraced by the rocks and the falaj, the sight already gives a refreshing feel.
This place, 240 km drive (approximately 3 hours) from Muscat, is also best known not only for its terraced irrigation but for different outdoor and adventurous activities which include camping, trekking, wadi swimming, donkey trekking and even rock climbing.
“The weather of Misfah Al Abryeen remains cool and the breeze blows fresh all throughout the year and tourists, locals and residents visit the village for the pleasant weather and mesmerizing views,” shared Haitham.
“During Eid and other holidays, people prefer to stop overnight night and explore every inch of this landscape. Even though the climate now is hot in other parts of the country, this oasis offers a tranquil shade from the heat,” he added.
Even a 30 minute or half day walk will reveal some of the village’s other secrets. New landscapes can be discovered and fruit crops are growing aplenty. They grow in assortment, from mangoes to lime, from pomegranates to papayas, one will also find a wide, well organised date plantations here which are the source of living for the many villagers.
To enjoy this wonderful place, participating in the traditional farming process and sight-seeing the many different gardens are not only unique experience, they offer one an insight of how things are done here.