Jebel Shams – the highest point in Oman. We hadn’t been there, and Robert planned to go into the mountains, and was quite happy for the company. He loves the mountains – every rock and crag – but he enjoys someone to talk to as well. He has a wealth of knowledge to share about the history and geology of Oman, and he finds us willing companions.
We headed out by way of Bahla in order to avoid driving through Niswa. Bahla fort is huge, and supposedly really interesting – have to look it up online, however, as it is closed for renovations, and has been for a long, long time It is very old, dating back to the Persian occupation, and has an incredible wall system surrounding it. Story has it that the Persian would mud prisoners into the wall alive to torture and kill them. Gruesome, eh?
Near the fort, there are several of the old well structures – they lifted skins of water by pulling them up with with donkeys and cattle.We drove by this marble mine – there are quite a f – I didn’t realize. we saw several trucks carrying blocks of white marble on the way into Muscat.You reach Jebel Shams by way of Wadi Ghul. Here is the old town. It is connected to a fort high on the hill by a long wall. They seemed to really like building walls. You used to drive along the bottom of the wadi, but, Omani style, there is now a paved road for most of the route. There is a long anticline with many small wadis cut through by centuries of flooding.
When we finally arrived at the top of the driving path, the view took our breath away. This is Wadi Ghul – the Grand Canyon of Oman. It’s not as long as the one in the USA, but pretty spectacular. Across the way, you will see a series of terraces – yes, they are really terraces, with retaining wall up to 6 feet tall. That little black spot on the top terrace is a goat. There is a pool and cave nearby, and out of sight, some houses. Can you imagine living way up on this cliff?I sure can’t.
This is the Bedouin stall where the locals sell woven carpets and key rings, etc. the kids selling were very sharp – spoke good English, and had great math skills. We bough a carpet, similar in style to the Sadu of Kuwait. but done with a finely spun wool so the patterns are very distinct.
There were a couple of goats running loose, and they came looking for food when we went back to the car – here an I feeling one paper – it was actually standing up on its hind feet to get the treats. We went a ways down the road to a deserted location to look at the view and eat our lunch (it is Ramadan, so one doesn’t eat in public during daylight hours) and they followed us.
Hope you enjoy some of the photos I took.