Oman // Al Batinah and Al Dhahirah //

As Suleif

On the southern edge of town lies Ibri’s most absorbing attraction, the remarkable walled village of As Suleif, a huge clump of collapsing mudbrick buildings which crown a small hill next to the main Nizwa highway. Like so many settlements in Oman, the old mudbrick village was abandoned a couple of decades ago in favour of the modern concrete villa development which now stands beside it, and the original settlement is now slowly crumbling into picturesque ruin – see it now before it collapses completely.

The entire village is impressively fortified, with high walls at the front and sides, and a string of watchtowers stuck like candles into the massive rock outcrop at the back. Inside is an incredibly labyrinthine, kasbah-like tangle of old roofless houses and other structures including a mosque, jail, various wells, majlis, food stores, a room for pressing dates and a “hanging tower” at the summit of the rock where unfortunates were taken to be executed. The remains of various inscriptions moulded onto arches or inscribed on rocks can also be seen. The resident guardian will meet you at the entrance and show you around. There’s no admission price, although a couple of rials should suffice.

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