Birkat Al Mouz (a.k.a Birkat al Mawz), Oman, is one of the most famous villages in ruins in the Sultanate.
With the 2 sets of ruins, a large banana farm and the scenic surroundings, the site is also home to the old Falaj irrigation system listed as UNESCO World heritage.
Below is my guide to plan your visit with tips, photo and map.
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Why visit Birkat al Mouz in Oman?
Birkat al Mouz (also written Birkat Al Mawz) is a traditional village in the Nizwa region.
Located on the way to Jebel Akhdar, it is an enchanting stop that will transport you back in time.
Here you can find:
- the ruins of the Tribes that lived in those mountains,
- beautiful banana and palm tree plantations,
- mountains in the background,
- the traditional falaj irrigation system, which is on the Unesco World heritage list.
Aerial view of Birkat Al Mawz Oman
Here is a screenshot from Google Earth. You can see the trees of the oasis and the 2 old villages. Behind are mountains. I visited the bigger ones (red point) with views towards the other village.
More photos after the planning tips.
Planning tips & Map - Birkat Al Mawz Oman
How to get to Birkat Al Mouz Oman - Map
- Located between Nizwa and Izki
- At the crossing with the road climbing to the mountains of Jebel Akhdar
- On Google Map you will fin one point noted as Birkat Al Mouz ruin 2 and on trip advisor the name is Birkat Al Mouz as well
- Nizwa to Birkat = 25 min drive
- Izki to Birkat = 15min drive
- Below is a map to help you get oriented -
GPS coordinates, easy-to-plan maps and practical info in my travel guide eBook:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
Visiting Birkat Al Mawz
- Wear proper shoes do explore the ruins - protect your feet and ankles
- Take the time to walk through the plantation. Especially on a hot day, the shade is really enjoyable
- Both ruins of villages are free to access. However be careful as those are not maintained. When looking at the mountain, the ruins on the left are easier to access.
- In the bigger village you can climb in old houses to admire the views. However be careful and stick to walking on the foundations. Do not venture in the middle areas...
- There are no carparks, so find a place where you do not block the circulation (the roads are narrow)
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Nizwa is only 25minutes away. It is the ideal place to stay and explore the area.
Check out the accommodation options
The banana plantations / farms at Birkat Al Mawz
Coming from Izki you cannot miss the plantation on your right.
Turn and explore the area. The shade is quite enjoyable on a hot day.
We met a local who recommended we took a road right in the middle and she was right, it was beautiful.
The name of the village translate to "Banana pool / lake". Not many banana trees spotted inside but a lot of palm trees as in every valley in Oman.
Walking in the ruins of Birkat Al Mauz
2 tribes had established their villages. And the ruins of both villages are still standing.
I visited the bigger ones. I love how those have not been touched. Locals just built around.
So when you walk through the small alleys, it feels like traveling back in time.
Those are not ruins that have been discovered and brought back to the surface.
They are just houses that have been abandoned. They are not maintained.
You can just walk around the clay houses with several levels.
Look at the details still present - ornaments, windows...
One house I entered still had some painted wood in one of the room, on the ceiling.
It is a traditional Omani decor.
Traditional Falaj irrigation system
Birkat al Mouz is also a great place to have a look at the traditional Afalj / Falaj.
It is a ancient traditional irrigation system which is on the Unesco World heritage list.
This Irrigation System from Oman is made of ancient water channels from 500 AD.
They are examples a system that dates back 5000 years.
"Aflaj" is the plural of "Falaj". It means "split into parts" as it divides, via gravity and channels, the water among all the inhabitants.
The views from Birkat Al Mouz
As I love a good landscape, my favorite part was climbing one of those stairs and walking on the wall of one of those houses.
Just pick the houses that seem less ready to crumble.
The views of the mountains and the plantations were inspiring.
As you can see below, from there you can see the ruins of the other tribe from Birkat Al Mawz. I wonder how they were getting along...
Newer neighborhood - Mosque and Fort
I think the most interesting parts are the ruins, but in the newer section of town you can also notice:
- Al Ya’aribah Mosque - dating back to 1649, and one of the oldest mosques in Oman
- The Falak al Khatmain
- The Bait ar Ridaydah Castle / Fort which dates back to the 17th century, which is now a weapons museum displaying the historical progression of traditional weapons in Oman.
Want to see more of Oman?
- Best Things to do in Oman - read article
- Best of photos from Oman - Landscapes - read article
- Best forts in Oman - read article
- Planning a road trip in Oman - read article
- Driving in Oman - read article
- Best Things to do in Muscat - read article
- The impressive Wadi Shab - read article
- The Bimmah Sinkhole - read article
- The desert of Wahiba Sands - read article
- The Ras Al Jinz turtle reserves - read article
Planning a trip to Oman?
Check out my travel guide to help you plan:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
And keep track of your own trip!
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