Located on the edge of a flat plain, just at the point where the foothills of the Hajar Mountains run into the dust of the desert, the small town of Bahla is dominated by a disproportionately large fort. But ask anyone in Oman what Bahla means to them, and only historians will single it out for the fort; expats may name the potteries, but any Omani not resident in the town will be sure to respond with ‘jinn’. These devilishly difficult spirits are blamed for all manner of evil-eye activities, but you’re unlikely to encounter them unless you understand Arabic, as they form part and parcel of the country's oral folklore.
Nearby Jabreen is linked to Bahla by a triumphal gateway – an enormous double-arched construction over the road with grand views of Bahla, the mountains and the desert beyond. Jabreen is plagued by no such reputation, but does boast its own impressive fort.