TEXT & PHOTOS BY YAHYA AL SALMANI –
Muscat, July 31 –
Wadi Hibi is a remote village is located at around 65 km from Suhar (North Al batinah Governorate). The village is famous for its fresh water, which flows throughout the year. Many tourists come to this village to enjoy the picturesque scenery and spend their day swimming and hiking with their relatives and friends
In the centre of this valley there is a small village called Al Hajal. There are dozens of ancient houses built of mud rocks. A local points out that, “the people have abandoned this village in recent decades. The main reason for the locals’ abandonment of their village is drought. The other reason for the movement of this village is that the new generation has jobs in areas far from the village”, a local told Observer.
The villagers’ lives depend on the agricultural and livestock. They still rely on the traditional irrigation system. The falaj is ranked the main water source in the site. “Before the drought, the village had many kinds of local fruits and vegetables such as dates, bananas, onions, wheat, grapes, garlic, tomatoes and the cucumber. Thank God for heavy rains recently”, he added.
The houses of this village are slowly falling in to pieces due to rain, wind and poor maintenance. “It has now become a good place for tourists who have long stopped taking pictures in the corridors of this village, which dates back nearly five hundred years”, he asserted.
The village has a big castle. The historical sources indicate that the fortress dates back to the 19th century. The citadel consists of several living rooms and five towers. These towers were used for observation and protection purposes of the village.
Tourists flock to this village on a daily basis. Locals demand the official authorities to provide some basic services for tourists and set up places which could be used for barbecue and camping.