The last point of interest on the Rustaq Loop is the modest little town of Al Hazm, home to another oversized fort. At the time of writing, the fort was closed for extensive renovations, probably until sometime in 2012 at the earliest – although you can at least sneak a peek at the entrance gateway’s magnificently carved wooden doors. The fort was built by the Ya’aruba imam Sultan bin Saif II, who briefly established Al Hazm as capital of Oman in preference to Rustaq, and who is buried inside. This is one of the biggest of all Oman’s fortified structures: a huge stone box containing a disorienting labyrinth of corridors and rooms, complete with the usual living quarters, prisons, mosque and its own dedicated falaj, clustered around a diminutive central courtyard – although there’s not much to see from the outside, which is disappointingly plain.

To reach the fort approaching from Rustaq, turn left at the roundabout in the centre of Al Hazm town. The fort is 1km along this road, clearly visible on your left.

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