Al Khabourah Castle, a popular tourist spot in Oman

Story Gautam Viswanathan

While many castles in Oman served as defensive positions, Khabourah Castle, which is near Sohar, was primarily used as a court of law, where tribal elders and high-ranking officials would sit in judgment and mete out justice as they saw fit.

The castle had been previously renovated using modern architectural techniques, while very much retaining the historical aesthetic it held, and has once again been opened to visitors.

“Al Khabourah Castle, one of the top tourist destinations in the Sultanate, is ready to receive visitors again,” said Oman’s Ministry of Tourism. “The restoration and rehabilitation of the castle, located little less than 2 km from the main centre of Sohar and close to the Sea of Oman, has been completed under the care of Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

“The renovation has included restoration of a collapsed wall, apart from the maintenance of the castle’s rooms, entrances and towers, and electrification and other public facilities,” added the Ministry. “Naturally available materials such as mud and stones have been used for restoration aimed at preserving the fort for posterity and positioning it as a tourist destination. Al Khabourah Castle was earlier restored in 1994. The restoration work included cleaning inside and around the castle, transporting debris and removing the collapsed buildings and roofs.”

The Ministry also says that the renovation included strengthening the foundation of the monument from inside and outside, peeling off the concrete plaster from walls inside and outside and retaining old plaster to preserve its archaeological character. The restoration also included building walls of the same dimension as earlier using gravel and mud, and rebuilding the roof using canadel, bamboo and mirenth wood.

“It also included provision of electrical connections both outside and inside, and paving the inner squares of the castle with stones. Doors and windows bear exact resemblance to the original ones,” added the Ministry. “The castle has a courtyard at the centre. The main entrance is located on the northern side, with two artillery shells beside it.”