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Report - - Tanuf ruins/Birkat-Al-Mouz old town, Nizwa, Oman, July 2014 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Tanuf ruins/Birkat-Al-Mouz old town, Nizwa, Oman, July 2014


HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Introduction
OK – time for another trip into the archives. Back around 2013 I was lucky enough to get chance to work out in Oman. I’d wanted to go for ages so was delighted when the chance availed itself. In total I went twice a year for three years. Every time I managed to do a bit of sight-seeing and fortunately, I managed to get a driver which allowed me to get off the beaten track.

There’s huge scope for exploring there and back at the time posted a couple of reports of places I’d been to. See Bowsher fort HERE and an old house in Al-Hamra HERE.

However, there was quite a lot that I didn’t get round to posting. It truly is a wonderful country and it’s largely unexplored and there are next to no tourists there. Omani’s are some of the nicest people you will ever meet so if you ever get chance to come to this delightful sultanate, grab it. It is a complete gem.

Ghost Village of Birkat-Al-Mouz

Information

This place is a good two-hour drive (140km) from Muscat in the mountains towards Nizwa. It’s one of Oman’s many deserted old towns that has been left to crumble. There has been a lot of depopulation in the countryside in favour of the big cities like the capital, Muscat. Birkat al Mouz translates literally as “pool of bananas” and is situated is a small area about 2 kms from the base of the mountain of Jebel Akdhar.

It’s hard to find any history about this place but it really is worth the drive. The houses were made out of mud and are now slowly starting to crumble making it a very atmospheric place to photograph. The new town is nearby to the ruined old town and the whole area is surrounded by lush green date palm plantations.

The Pictures:

Interior of one house with a falaj (or water channel) flowing through it:



Decaying mud houses:



The village’s old mosque:



The old look-out tower:





And a few of the many old houses that are just collapsing:



Note the typical Omani style shelves built into the house walls:



And a view of the old town as a whole:



Ruined village, Tanuf

Information

The ruins of old town of Tanuf are located at the edge of Jabal Akhdar and at the mouth of wadi Tanuf, approximately 20km from Nizwa or 150km from Muscat. The town's houses were constructed using traditional Omani building techniques using mud and straw. It was bombed and destroyed by RAF in 1954 during the Imamate rebellion in a battle against and the dissident Beni Riyam tribe at the orders of Sultan Sai’d bin Taymur. The last Imam of Oman, Ghalib Bin Ali, started the uprising in 1954, when the Sultan of Oman granted licenses to the Iraq Petroleum Company, disregarding the fact that the largest oil fields lay inside the Imamate.

The Pictures

The mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the ruined village of Tanuf:



…and the mud brick ruins crumble away:



The RAF destroyed the village:



…and it has stood derelict ever since:



Baking in the hot summer sun of the Sultanate of Oman:



Here the villages surrounding stone defence wall is still standing:



as the walls of the former houses crumble:





Few buildings have remains of their original floors:



While the former Mosque is perhaps the best-preserved building:





 

wormster

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Have you come across Wilfred Thesiger's book Arabian Sands, its one of the classic postwar travelouges, I think he makes for Nizwa at one point when he's travelling with the local (decling even then) bedou, I loved the Trucial States back in the 80's, Dubai is almost unrecogniseable these days!
 

HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Have you come across Wilfred Thesiger's book Arabian Sands, its one of the classic postwar travelouges, I think he makes for Nizwa at one point when he's travelling with the local (decling even then) bedou, I loved the Trucial States back in the 80's, Dubai is almost unrecogniseable these days!
I haven't mate but it sounds like I need to and my kind of book. Really love Nizwa and would love to go back to Oman. It really is the pearl of Arabia.
 

wormster

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
That part is
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Stunning shots. Looks like a really interesting explore. The village houses remind me of shortbread lol. love it. Great back cat :thumb
 

Fluffy

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
That's a bit nice Hughie! Reminds me of Cappadocia a bit!
 

SadlerWells

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Love these photos, they take me right back to visiting my dad when he was working out in Dubai in 1980, long before it became a tourist destination.
 

pastybarm

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I worked in Nizwa for a short time, but I shall not say in what capacity, but I do remember these road signs, I always wanted to see more of the abandoned and historical stuff, but I just did not like the heat, alas. I remember the roads being a terrifying experience, but thanks for these pics, and agree about Omanis being a generally friendly bunch, I'd be wary of scorpions or vipers in some of these places, although from my experience your average fellow expat colleague out there could be a lot more venomous!!
 

HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
I worked in Nizwa for a short time, but I shall not say in what capacity, but I do remember these road signs, I always wanted to see more of the abandoned and historical stuff, but I just did not like the heat, alas. I remember the roads being a terrifying experience, but thanks for these pics, and agree about Omanis being a generally friendly bunch, I'd be wary of scorpions or vipers in some of these places, although from my experience your average fellow expat colleague out there could be a lot more venomous!!
Ha ha, so you were a Special Agent eh? I found the roads to be of 2 types: (1) very good amd (2) not really worthy of the term 'road'.
 

pastybarm

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Ha ha, so you were a Special Agent eh? I found the roads to be of 2 types: (1) very good amd (2) not really worthy of the term 'road'.
No, I am afraid, nothing as exciting or mysterious as that, rather mundane really in all actuality, but will gladly PM you, if it is ok to do so. Agree about the main roads being excelllent, even better than the UK, but the roads I did see through the odd wadi and the like, you could just call a gravel or stone track, but still not bad overall. My concern I meant in the post was more the driving, or what they considered (esp taxi drivers and young locals) to be defensive or safe driving. In the end I left because I really just did not like it anymore, will PM, cheers,
 

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