Oman's most outstanding cultural landmark are it’s castles and forts and, collectively with its towers and city walls have played the role of defense stronghold or watch points in the history of Oman. There are around 500 forts, towers and castles in Oman having a coastline of around 1700 km so they provided a protection against possible intruders and attackers.

The architectural design varies depending on the era in which they were built or on the architects that structured them. The most popular forts and castles in Oman include Jalali and Mirani, Rustaq Fort, Bahla Fort, Nizwa Fort, Jabrin Fort, Nakhl Fort, Al Hazm Castle, Sohar Fort, Mirbat Castle, Khassab Castle, Al Mintrib Castle, Al Khandaq Castle and Albuquerque. Oman history includes events where these forts and castles have played an important role.

Among these Rustaq Fort, which was built in 13th century, is the oldest and the tallest. It is surrounded by guard towers. Jilani and Mirani are one of the most famous forts among the others. These are located at Muscat Bay’s entrance. The original shape of these forts was like a tower till they were rebuilt by Portuguese invaders, who further added emplacements, stores and quarters for the leader and a worshiping place. During the rule of Imam Ahmed bin Said, the building was further developed to its current size.

Bahla Fort is considered a great stronghold due to its 7 mile long walls which were patrolled by guards all of the time. Mud was used to build flights of stairs and walls and these were covered with gypsum and a traditional type of mortar named sarooj which are considerably as hard and solid as cement. This fort has been approved by UNESCO to be included in the list of World Heritage.

The biggest fort in the whole Arabian Peninsula, “Nizwa Fort” is circular in shape with an exterior diameter of 150 feet and height of 115 feet. Imam Sultan bin Saif al Ya’arubi used it as headquarters and it is a stronghold with a tendency to endure some of the most severe siege attacks. Above each door is a hole through which boiling oil could be tipped on the enemies. Not only have these castles have played an integral part in defense against intruders throughout Oman’s history but are also a geographical heritage for Oman.

Another thing through which Oman history has been or can be affected is Strait of Hormuz. It is considered as a major and one of the busiest waterways in the world. Situated in the Governate of Musandam, it is a separation point between Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Makran, the Sea of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Iran is situated on the north of the Strait of Hormuz and on the south is Sultanate of Oman, which controls the flow of the sea traffic. A channel of mountains and islands is present throughout the strait. A small part of the strait has been allocated to the tourist ships. It is one of the most important trade channels of the world and if closed, can cause a drastic rise in the prices of gas and oil.

Author's Bio: 

Sheikh Al Zubari is an expert tourism consultant associated with Ministry of Tourism of Oman that specializes in Tourist Spots all over sultanate of Oman, Oman regions. The experience of oman history, strait of hormuz in Oman is really special for foreigners and tourists.