House by the Irrigation DitchMarch 10, 2020 in Oman ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C
40 years ago there was nothing here except the Bait al-Falaj fort, built by Sayyid Said bin Sultan in 1845 as a summer home and named for the pure waters of the falaj running nearby. (In English it translates as "House by the Irrigation Ditch" which somehow seems to lose a little of the magic.) Rough, tough and narrow roads lead from Old Muscat to the plateau, heading South and South-East. A passage West leads to the Al Battinah and Al Dakhiliah regions. Its strategic location soon drew the attention of the military and an airport- the first airport in Oman - was constructed in 1929 to serve as a civilian airport. It had a a dirt track landing strip and asphalt aircraft parking as well as a communication Centre, Customs Office and a maintenance shed. It seems to have been used principally by the Petroleum Development Oman Company, flying between Muscat and oil exploration fields in Fahud, Qarn Al Alam and other locations.
In 1988 His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, "reviver of the glories of Oman and the leader of its blessed renaissance", graciously inaugurated the Sultan's Armed Forces Museum in this fort. Only 15 mins walk from my hotel, I popped over for a squiz being assured that it was not all weaponry. And it wasn't, there was a well laid out series of rooms describing Oman's past and of course, the triumphant glories of the Omani Military.
Nostalgia! Land Rovers, Saracens, Ferrets and assorted vehicles brought back my time in the TAVR at uni. They also had a power dhow for surreptitious patrols of the Persian Gulf.Read more