Al Rowdha < OMAN EXPLORER

 
 
Al Rowdha's rich antiquity

The fort has two watchtowers, the taller of which stands independent of the rest of the structure, but, from afar, looks part of it. Each tower has three rooms. The main structure is made up of six rooms and a storeroom. Standing sentinel on rocky hills nearby are several other smaller watchtowers

The magnificent Al Rowdha fort in the wilayat of Al Mudhaibi — Picture by Khamis al Moharbi

Samad A'Shan in the wilayat of Al Mudhaibi is steeped in history, as is evident in the fine fortifications and archaeological sites located around this niyabat. Also, there are oasis villages here of picture-book appeal that, together with the niyabat's rich antiquity, makes a visit here a richly rewarding experience. In today's episode, we turn the spotlight on Al Rowdha, a tiny village of breathtaking charm. It lies on the fringes of the mightly Wadi Samad which meanders through the Sharqiya and Al Wosta regions before meeting the Arabian Sea at Mahawt.

Al Rowdha is located just 3km from Al Akhdar, another picturesque village in Samad A'Shan, known for its oasis ambience and rich historical legacy. Towering above the verdant countryside is Al Rowdha's most famous landmark, Bait Hus'n al Rowdha. A dirt track snaking along the bed of a dry wadi brings you to this imposing edifice at the entrance to Al Rowdha village. The Ministry of National Heritage and Culture renovated this elegant edifice, built atop a rocky outcrop, in 1988. The original structure, it is believed, was built by local citizens in the 1900s, at the end of the reign of the Nabhani dynasty.

Over the years however it underwent major structural changes, losing some of the original towers in the process. Today, the fort has two watchtowers, the taller of which stands independent of the rest of the structure, but, from afar, looks part of it. Each tower has three rooms. The main structure is made up of six rooms and a storeroom. Standing sentinel on rocky hills nearby are several other smaller watchtowers. For foreign tourists and local visitors alike, Bait Hus'n Al Rowdha is one of Al Mudhaibi's better-known tourist attractions. A visitor's book maintained at the fort is a testament to the numbers of tourists who come here.

Elsewhere around Samad A'Shan are many other gems of antiquity. Vying for attention on another rocky outcrop in the distance is another impressive edifice called Bait Awlad A'Thaneen. It was built by local residents around the same time as Bait Hus'n A'Rowdha. One of its two towers has since collapsed.Samad village also has its share of historical treasures. Overlooking the sprawling date tree plantations is Samad fort, otherwise called Hus'n al Khubaib.

Although not of great antiquity, it was built on the debris of early fortifications. It was used by the presiding wali well into the 1970s and thereafter went into ruin. Deeper into the village stands the Hozam bin Falah fort, billed as the biggest and oldest of all forts in Samad A'Shan. Currently in a state of spectacular ruin, this once grandiose structure, was two-storeys high with four towers and seven water wells. It began collapsing some 65 years ago, it is learnt.

Much of Samad A'Shan's special charm lies in its verdant cover of date palm trees that grow along the edges of Wadi Samad. Located amid this verdant swathe are fruit orchards nourished by bountiful streams. You can stroll through this pleasant natural setting while exploring Al Akhdar village, just 3km from Al Rowdha. There are atmospheric mud homes and crumbling mansions deep within this luxuriant cover that also invite discovery.Standing in the old quarter of the village are remnants of the famous Al Akhdar fort — once a splendid edifice, with a formidable tower of stone and limestone plaster, and a total of 17 rooms.
 

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