Harat al Sheikh to get facelift

MUSCAT: Harat al Sheikh village in Wadi al Maawil in the Governorate of Al Batinah South, will undergo restoration as part of the government initiative to preserve the heritage villages and to turn it into a tourist destination.
The Ministry of Tourism and Heritage has started a project to restore the village, which is rich in history, ancestral legacy, and home to unique customs and traditions. It is a fine example of ancient architectural patterns. Despite being very old, Harat al Sheikh has survived many odds and stores several unique identities. Its cracked and ramshackle buildings have survived elements and passage of time.
The village’s Majlis, which is called locally as ‘Sabla’, plays an important role in telling the children the stories of the past and teaching them the inherited customs and traditions.
When a father takes his children to this Majlis, where all gather on different occasions, he teaches them the style of conversation, how to deal with others, self-reliance, and everything related to Oman’s traditions so that a child’s growth is based on the Islamic teachings and love of the land.
The fortress of the village has two afalaj inside it. It is surrounded by palm, lemons, and mango trees. Each tower in the fortress extends to about 150 feet high, providing an opportunity to take a bird’s eye view of the surroundings and the town of Afi as well.
The fortress’s main door is inlaid with steel bases and protruding metal studs for defencive purposes. The fortress was an immortal landmark throughout the ages like other defensive lines of the village such as the great walls and towers.
In the past, the village was completely protected by the towers and gates, as residents assert. In times of the blockade, people of the town survived thanks to several internal wells. The neighbourhood has three gates and four towers.
It also has a mosque which was built on a high platform. The mosque’s yard is reached via a staircase enclosed with a wooden gate carved with decorative motifs. In the middle of the mosque’s courtyard, there is an old well. There is also a staircase in the yard leading to the roof of the mosque.