Discover the beauty of this misterious country, the Sultanate of Oman with White Oryx



The Wilayat of Manah has several old buildings including forts, towers, mosques and attractive residential quarters. Particularly impressive is the old quarter in the village of Harat al Bilad with its traditional houses, mosques, wells, springs, perimeter wall and other features. Surrounded by date palms, it has been chosen by the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom as a typical example of Omani architecture. The Wilayat of Manah is 160 Kilometres from the Governorate of Muscat and comprises eight villages:- Harat al Bilad, Mu'ammad, al Ma'arra, 'Izz, al Faiqain, al Mahiyul, Abu Nakhilah and Mitan. It borders on the wilayats of Adam to the south, Izki to the north and east, and Nizwa to the west.
The road to Manah branches off the Nizwa-Salalah highway, though it can also be reached by the minor road which links the villages of al Mahiyul and Zakeet in the Wilayat of lzki. As you approach Manah, you will be greeted by the sight of its immense forts, including the recently-restored fort of al Faiqain, and the now-ruined Harat al Bilad with its mud houses, and tangle of arcades and alleyways. There are three imposing mosques in al Bilad with patterned gypsum mihrabs dating from the 10th century AH/16th century AD and engraved with Quranic verses. They are al 'Aali mosque (built in 909AH/1503 AD), which has recently been renovated with Omani sarooj (burnt clay) and has retained its original mihrab, al Ain mosque (built in 911 AH/1505 AD and al Sharah mosque built in 922 AH/1516 AD.

Harat al Bilad has over 300 houses, as well as a small souq and traditional workshops including flour mills and sugarcane presses. It is surrounded by a defensive wall. Near its northern gateway stands the five-storied Burj al Juss, which is one of the tallest towers in the wilayat. With the passage of time the fifth storey has collapsed, though the remaining four storeys are still standing. When describing this tower, the explorer Wellstead wrote of his amazement at its impressive height. There is also a cylindrical tower at the southern end of al Bilad, as well as a partially ruined fort.

Outside Harat al Bilad's perimeter wall there is a renovated mosque which is one of the oldest and largest mosques in the Dakhiliyah Governorate.

Al Fiqain Fort is a unique example of Omani architecture at its best. It is over three storeys high and its position affords excellent views of the old residential quarters, palm groves and farms of the village of al Fiqain.

In earlier times the Wilayat of Manah was renowned for its wheat, and the area from al Figain, Harat al Bilad and Mu'ammad to the nearby mountain of Jabal Saruj used to be covered in falaj-irrigated wheat fields so that it looked like a vast green carpet. Evidence of the agricultural past can still be seen. In those days people used a stone quern to grind their flour.

They also used to grow sugar cane and extracted the juice from their annual crop in traditional cane presses. The rare matak - a tree with pliable green branches and roots with valuable medicinal properties - also grows in the wilayat and has been adopted as the wilayat's emblem. Manah has several aflaj, including the aflaj of al Khatam, al Faiqain, al Musarraj, al Asgharain (or al Sughrain), al Sulaib and al Mahiyul. Falaj Malik (or al Malki) was one of the earliest aflaj to be dug in the wilayat and traces of its saqiahs (channels) can still be seen in the village of al Fiqain.

The Wilayat of Manah is in a wide, open area of flat ground dotted with trees and plants including sumr, ghaf, harmal and `ishriq. Several wild animals live there including hares, foxes and hedgehogs. Flocks of livest ck can be seen grazing among the trees.

Traditional Occupations
The traditional occupations are pasturage, agriculture, blacksmithery, goldsmithery, carpentry, textiles, weaving and pottery.