Tourism is a relatively recent phenomena in many parts of the Arabian peninsula, and the interior of the Sultanate of Oman cannot be said to have been, at least until recently, a popular tourist destination. Yet for those who want to venture inland from the coast there are some wonderful historical gems to be discovered. One of them is Jabreen Castle which dates back to 1670. Its design and construction were supervised by Imam Bil’Arub bin Sultan Al Y`aribi and it was built to resemble the most beautiful palaces of that period. The castle served as a palace and home for the Imam and his family, and a bastion during wartime. It was also a centre of learning and contained many study rooms. The Castle has recently been restored to its former glory thanks to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage of Oman, after having been in ruins for many years.
The palace is a large rectangular building consisting of five floors and containing 55 rooms. A Falaj runs through the middle of the castle. This castle is distinguished by the inscriptions and frescoes that adorn its rooms. The castle’s ceilings are decorated with paintings and Islamic-era style inscriptions, and its doors are beautifully carved. All these architectural details make Jabreen Castle an authentic expression of Omani craftsmanship.
Jabreen Castle is divided into two parts: the first rises for sixteen metres and consists of two storeys, whereas the second part rises to twenty-two metres and consists of three storeys. The castle’s rooms are divided between these two sections. The most beautiful and unique of these rooms are:
The Sun and Moon Room: This was the room where the Imam met important visitors for discussions and consultations. What distinguishes this room are those icons and beautiful Islamic calligraphy adorning its ceiling, particularly the eye drawing. It contains 14 windows, seven of which are located on top near the ceiling and seven are at the bottom. Here lies the secret of the room’s cool atmosphere throughout the year, as when cold air enters from the lower windows, it expels the warm air from the top windows
The Imam Protection Room is nother distinctive room in this palace. This room was built in a way that allows the Immam’s soldiers to hide underneath it for his protection when he wished to meet with any person he did not trust. There are four secret hideouts under the room connecting with each other.
Situated about 20 kilometres from City of Bahla in A’Dakhiliyah Region Jabreen Castle can be reached from the Omani capital, Muscat, by car in less than three hours.
Picture: Jabreel Castle (Photo courtesy of y oman)