One of the most visited places in the Sultanate, the Nizwa Fort Oman is a combination of a castle, a fort and a museum. This great example of old Omani architecture is quite unique due to the circular shape of the tower which you can climb! Below is my guide to help you plan your visit.
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About the Nizwa Fort
This is the entry of the Fort and Castle. A place not to be missed on your Oman itinerary !
The Nizwa Fort is actually a combination of a castle and a fort (the Tower only).
- The Fort was built at the beginning of the 17th century byt the Imam Sultan bin Saif Al Yarubi. It took approximately 12 years to complete.
- The tower has a 45m diameter and reacheds 34 meters in height. Its foundations extend 30m underground. (which is what was displayed at the fort, but the Lonely Planet and the Oman tourism website have different dimensions...)
- The platform of the tower is accessed via a narrow staircase (60 steps). At each turn, 10cm thick wooden doors depend against there
- Originally built in the 9th century and renewed in 1624.
- It contained rooms for the Imam, his family, his guests and the royal guards. Those rooms are decorated and used to display artefacts
- There were also a kitchen, coffee-making room and a date store which you can see
Below is a representation of the Tower and surrounding castle:
At the entrance of the fort, your can also find a maps wiht th various room which can be visited:
- Exhibition Halls
- Date Store
- Ablution Room
Inside the castle, you can also find a 3D miniature version of the area:
One room also has photos of the restoration. Both the Castle and the Fort have been restored using traditional methods and materials. It was quite interesting to see the before and after.
PLANNING TIPS - Nizwa Fort Oman
How to get to the Nizwa Fort - Map
- Muscat to Muscat = 1h30 drive
- Road 21 is the main road going through Nizwa, from there the fort is indicated
- Below is a map to give you an idea of where Nizwa is:
GPS coordinates, easy-to-plan maps and practical info in the eBook:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
If you don't want to drive, you can take join a day trip from Muscat covering the Nizwa fort - Check out the Program
Visiting the Nizwa Fort Oman
- Nizwa Fort Opening Hours: from 8am to 6pm, except on Fridays when it closes between 11:30 and 1:30.
- Toilets available inside the castle
- 60 steps to the center of the Tower and then 40 steps to each of the 3 viewpoints - the view is worth the climb
- Entry charge higher than other forts
- Great visit to combine with the Nizwa Souq
- Nizwa is a great base to visit many highlights of the area such as Jebel Akdhar, Misfat Al Abriyeen, the Bahla Fort...
The Nizwa Castle structure
I really enjoyed walking around the castle and climbing on walls. The lines and level are all different and creating interesting geometrical visuals. This is parly why it made it on my list of top 10 things to do in Oman.
Don't miss climbing on those walks (being careful) to see the ruins of old houses left around the fort.
The exhibits inside the Nizwa Fort
Inside the castle are many exhibits to present the traditional way of living in Oman. The displays were nice and written in Arabic and English.
It is a simple museum and I liked it because it does not overwhelm you with information.
Below are a few shots of things you can see in the museum:
- Traditional Masks
- Coffee making
- Date Store - untaouched during the restoration process, was still in use during the 20th century
- Living quarters
Second level of the Nizwa Fort Oman
Next to the tower you can enter and see some decorated and non decorated rooms. You can also climb stairs to a terrace level where you get another view of thse geometrical superpositions.
Climbing the Nizwa Fort Tower
It’s worth climbing to the platform of the tower and then to each of the viewpoints. From there you can see the oasis and th Hajar Mountains.
Don't forget to look at the thick door and traps to stop attacks on the fort.
And if you want to know more about the fort's protection system, check out the post by Man on the Lam with a drwaing of how murder holes worked.
View from the Fort of Nizwa
When you reach the platform you see 3 set of stairs at one third of the perimeter. You can also admire canons if you are into firearms. I prefered the views.
This view is the other reason why the Nizwa Fort made it on my list of top 10 things to do in Oman.
Other things to do in Nizwa
Nizwa souq / market
Next to the Fort is the Nizwa Souq. It also deserves quite some times to explore all the alleys, especially in the older sections.
You will find vegetables, spices, potteries, textiles, baskets and much more
Outisde Nizwa, Birkat al Mawz
Not far from Muscat you can also explore the ruins of Birkat al Mawz. It is home to the traditional Falaj irragation system that has been classifies by the Unesco organization.
Other forts to visit
Oman has many other forts you can visit around the country (see my article about Omani forts).
Another one is very close to the Nizwa Fort, it is the Bahla fort.
Built in the 13th and 14th century, it has been restored and is one of the most comprehensive forts in Oman.
Other things to do from Nizwa
As you can see on the map above, Nizwa is very central.
From there you can easily explore Jebels Shams, Jebel Akhdar, Wahiba Sands...
Want to see more of Oman's beauty?
A great mixture of museum, architecture and views, don't you think?
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