Nizwa is one of the most impressive of Oman’s numerous fort cities. It sits on a plain in the Hajar Mountains which was once a strategic point on the caravan route and, like Rustaq, served time as Oman’s capital. Its fort, with its warren of high-walled chambers dominated by a huge central tower, dates to 1668.
Long before that, Nizwa was renowned as a centre of Islamic teaching, and it consequently boasts some of the best of Oman’s early mosques. Meanwhile, secular life is centered on the busy souks; sample dates and other fruits which grow here in oasis-like conditions. Vendors are refreshingly laid-back so you can cast your eyes and fingers over the city’s trademark silver jewelry and other handcrafts in peace.
Nizwa is in the Hajar Mountains of northern Oman, under two and a half hours away by bus from Muscat. Bahla Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a relatively short drive away and also well worth visiting.