Bahla FortFort Bahla
The Bahla Oasis owes its prosperity to the Banu Nabhan, who forced themselves upon other communities between the 12th and late 15th centuries. The ruins of the huge fortress with its walls and towers made of raw brick and the stone base bear witness to its power, a remarkable example of this fortress.
The Bahla owes its prosperity to the Banu Nebhan tribe, who ruled all the clans in the region from the 12th to the end of the 15th century. Bahla was the center of Ibadism (a movement in Islam). The Bahla owes its prosperity to the Banu Nebhan, the dominant tribe in the area from the 12th to the end of the 15th century.
The main elements of the architectural ensemble of Bahla have remained unchanged. The ruins of the huge fortress - with unfired bricks and rock foundation ramparts and turrets - are a remarkable example of this kind of fortification and testify to the power of Banu Nebhan. Huge, destroyed Fort Bahla with its clay bricks wall and tower on rock formations and the Friday mosque with its decorative decorated praying alcove (mihrab) dominates the nearby clay bricks village and the tree-trop.
This fortress and village, a mud-clad haven in the Omani deserts, owes its wealth to the Banu Nebhan people ( "Nabahina"), who ruled Omani and made Bahla their capitol from the twelfth to the end of the fifteenth cent. The Bahla was the center of Ibadism (a twig of Islam) on which the old Omani Imamates were founded and whose impact can be observed across Arabia, Africa and beyond.
There are several gates to the vast walls (sur) with watch towers that surround the maze of mud-brick houses and arable lands. It is irrigated by the system of fountains and subterranean canals, which bring ground waters from remote sources, and by the cultivation of sea-weather. The Bahla is an excellent example of a walled oases village from the Middle Ages, showing the hydraulic skills of the early residents for farming and family use.
Built in the pre-Gunpowder fortress with its round tower and crenellated balustrades, the border with stonework and clay bricks shows the standing and influential role of the dominant elites. There is a distinct housing development patterns in the remains of the Harat families, such as al-Aqr, al-Ghuzeili, al-Hawulya and their associated mausoleums, courtrooms (Sablas), bathhouses, and the apartments of the fortress guardians (Askari), which are related to the situation of the Fallaj.
Its importance is underlined by the Friday Moche with its richly decorated tomb and the ruins of the old, half-covered square (souq), which consists of a set of one-storey stores located in small alleys and surrounded by an outwork. Because of the position of the Souqs, it was possible to easily monitor from the fortress on the cliff.
Remnants of wooden gates, shelving and windows cut in decorative patterns bear witness to a flourishing craftsmanship history. Bahla Fortress and the Oasensiedlung with its surrounding fortifications are an excellent example of a kind of defence architecture that allowed the dominating trunks to reach wealth in Oman and the Arabian Peninsula in the later Middle Ages.
It was discovered at the moment of the epitaph that Fort Bahla and the adjoining Friday Mosque are inseparably connected to the small oaseside city that surrounds them and that the border therefore follows the line of the Berlin wall (sur) that surrounds the entire oases. Most of the main elements of the Bahla architectonic group have been preserved and together make up an integrated and largely completed historical oases housing estate and a large defence area.
It has a system of rapids and waterways on which the village is dependent, as well as historical paths connecting the village with other inland cities that go far beyond its borders. In spite of some developments in town planning in the latter part of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Bahla still has a presence in the deserts.
The maintenance of the monitoring function of the fort in respect of the city, the neighbouring village and the gates will also require meticulous site developments as well. The fortress was in ruins at the moment of the writing and quickly decayed after every rainfall. In the early 1990' some parts of the fort, among them Bayt al-Jabal, the entry lobby (Sabah) as well as northwest and southwest faces were reinforced with unsuitable masonry. In 1992 an auditorium (Sabla) in the inner court was torn down.
Since 1995, after education and consulting on earth buildings, the preservation with only earth-based material has been used to drain inner courtyards, new rooftops and the solidification of falling down ramparts and cathedrals incl. the fortress ( "Qasaba"), court shrine, Bayt al-Jabal, Bayt al-Hadith and equestrian boxes, as well as the covering of ramparts, which prevent the further collaps.
In 1999 the Swabla was rebuilt in the castle yard. Exact recordings of the work were kept and a complete documentary of the fort was conducted, which included a photogrammetrical measurement. The Bahla is still a flourishing town. Bahla Fort and Oasis properties are administered and registered under the Omani National Heritage Protection Act (1980).
It and its surroundings are under the control of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture in Muscat, which has a Dakhliyeh District and Bahla offices. It has a management plan dated March 2005 focusing on the long-term maintenance, preservation and use of historical building, structure and space forms.
It also recognizes the importance of preserving the site as a whole and managing advanced use and design to maintain the architectonic complex's integrality and significance within its environment. A number of the measures outlined in the management plans have been pushed forward and put into practice, such as the preservation of the Friday Moscow, the Queen's Square, the subways and gateway, the elaboration of port redevelopment policies, the redirection of through-connections, the electrical supply to the fort and the establishment of a site heritage centre in Bayt al-Hadith within the fort.
It is currently being revised and upgraded in 2009/2010 to be formally adopted. An overhauled and upgraded real estate plan forms the foundation for the long-term operation of the real estate.