Barka fort’s main claim to fame is as the site, in 1747, of one of the most important events in Omani history: the final expulsion of the Persians from the country and the foundation of the Al Bu Said dynasty, whose descendants continue to rule Oman to this day.
The architect of the affair was Ahmad bin Said, the popular governor of Sohar and Barka, who had a few years previously signed a treaty with the Persians. Ahmad decided to affirm his friendship by inviting the entire Persian garrison at Muscat to a banquet at Barka fort. The banquet was well under way when, it is said, there was a sudden beating of drums and the public crier announced: “Anyone who has a grudge against the Persians may now take his revenge!” According to one version of the story, all the Omanis present immediately fell upon their unarmed guests and did away with the lot of them, apart from two hundred soldiers who cried for mercy. These were put on a ship for Persia, although according to legend a mysterious fire swept through the ship, and all aboard, with the exception of Ahmad’s sailors, were burned alive or drowned. An alternative version of the event states that Ahmad bin Said simply executed a few of the Persians, but allowed the rest to go free, or sent them back to Persia.