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Nizwa

The historic town of Nizwa, with its giant fort and high-walled souq, lies on a plain surrounded by a thick palm oasis and some of Oman’s highest mountains. Only half a century ago, British explorer Wilfred Thesiger was forced to steer clear of Nizwa: his Bedouin companions were convinced that he wouldn’t survive the ferocious conservatism of the town and refused to let him enter. He would have been amazed to find that Nizwa is now the second-biggest tourist destination in Oman. The seat of factional imams until the 1950s, Nizwa, or the ‘Pearl of Islam’ as it’s sometimes called, is still a conservative town, however, and appreciates a bit of decorum from its visitors.

Marked by a grand double-arched gateway, Nizwa forms a natural access point for the historic sites of Bahla and Jabreen, and for excursions up the mountain roads to Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams.

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