Nizwa is located in the heart of Oman about 165 km from Muscat the Capital City. Driving is about an hour and a half; the road passes through many Wilayats like Bidbid, Samail, and Izki.
Nizwa is an ancient city in the Ad Dakhiliyah region of northern Oman and is one of the oldest cities in Oman. It was once a center of trade, religion, education and art. Set amid a verdant spread of date palms, it is strategically located at the crossroads of routes linking the interior with Muscat and the lower reaches of Dhofar thus serving as the link for a large part of the country. Today, Nizwa is a diverse prosperous place with numerous agricultural, historical and recreational aspects.
Nizwa is about 140 km (1.5 hours) from Muscat. The population is estimated at around 700,000 people including the two areas of Burkat Al Mooz and Al Jebel Al Akhdar.
Marked by a grand new double-arched gateway, the town forms a natural access point for the historic sites of Bahla and Jabrin, and for excursions up the mountain roads to Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams.
Nizwa is now the second-biggest tourist destination in Oman. It was named the Capital of Islamic Culture in 2013. The city is known for date cultivation, the most highly prized varieties of which are khalas and khumaizi.
Nizwa was the capital of Oman in the 6th and 7th centuries AD. With its deep connection to the root of Islam, Nizwa possesses a number of renowned mosques, such as Sultan Qaboos Jama (Friday mosque), So'al Mosque built in the 2nd century AH (9th century AD), Ash-Shawathinah Mosque in Uqr and Ash-Sharja Mosque. There are also Al-Ain Mosque, Ash-Sheikh Mosque and Shuraij Mosque in Tanuf built in 377 AH (around 1000 AD).
Today it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions with its historical buildings and imposing fort built in the mid 17th century by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya'ribi, The town's immense palm oasis stretches for eight kilometers along the course of two wadis. It is famous for its bustling souq where tourists can buy exquisite copper and silver jewellery and other craft items.
Attractions / Things to do while in Nizwa
These are some of the most popular sites in and around Nizwa and a great way to spend the day while in the area
Nizwa Fort was built in the 1668 AD by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya'rubi. It is Oman's most visited national monument. The fort was the administrative seat of authority for the presiding Imams and Walis in times of peace and conflict. The main bulk of the fort took about 12 years to complete and was built above an underground stream. The fort is a reminder of the town's significance through turbulent periods in Oman's long history. It was a formidable stronghold against raiding forces that desired Nizwa's abundant natural wealth and its strategic location at the crossroads of vital routes.
The Fort Timings are Sat to Thu 8am to 4pm and Friday 8am to 11am only.
It’s building embraces both traditional and modern architectural lines. The city, famous for its handicrafts and agricultural products, has an expansive souq with an array of products. Nizwa is renowned for its silver jewelry, which is considered to be the best in the country. The people of Nizwa are masters in Khanjar making, recognized for its distinctive style and patterns, and noted for silver craftsmanship in general. They also make copper ware, coffee pots, swords, leather goods and pottery.
The Souq is also a good source for antiques, including Maria Theresa thalers, once used as Oman's official currency. Vanilla, saffron, spices, dried lemons and nuts of all types are also good purchases, and can be found in the older section of the souq. This is also a good place to pick up some of Nizwa's prized dates.
Jebel Akhdar meaning "the Green Mountain", is part of the Al Hajar Mountains range in Oman, which extends about 300 km northwest to southeast, between 50-100 km inland from the Gulf of Oman coast. It is one of Oman’s most spectacular areas. The highest point, Jabal Shams (Mountain of the Sun), is around 3,000 metres (around 9,800 feet) high. It is the highest point in Oman and the whole of eastern Arabia. It comprises the central section of the Al Hajar Mountains range, and is located around 150 km from Muscat.
The area is about a 45-minute drive from Nizwa and is famous for its traditional rose water extraction and agricultural products including pomegranate, apricot, peach and walnut. In the area several important rock art sites, whose oldest figures date back to 6000 years ago, have been discovered and studied.
Falaj Daris a World Heritage Site, is the largest falaj in Oman and is the life maintainer of Nizwa. It provides the surrounding countryside with much needed water for the plantations. Al Ghantuq and Dhoot are two other important falajs in Nizwa. Farming is widely practiced and the town's immense palm farms stretches for eight kilometers along the course of two wadis (Kalbouh and Al Abiadh). Also in practice are red sugar processing and hide tanning.
A short drive from Nizwa centre is the old village of Tanuf, known for its seasonal waterfalls. Waterfalls in Tanuf are unique to the area within the steep mountainsides and the water reservoir.
Continuing on the road from Nizwa you reach Bahla, dominated by a large fort it is a delightful town which has retained its traditional characteristics. Famous for its pottery, most of which is still produced by traditional methods. Mud kilns are still used although they are now fired by natural gas rather than wood. Workers still extract and purify clay by hand. The town was surrounded by a 12 km long wall much of which still stands.