Fanja, a mix of modern and old charms

Story Gautam Viswanathan

Fanja, a little town beyond the outskirts of Muscat, is a mix of modern and old charms alike, clad in rich heritage and history, offering one of the most scenic views that Oman has to offer.

The souq is renowned for its pottery, and encourages visitors to wander round the market, bargaining for locally produced pots, local fruits and, farm fresh vegetables, and woven goods made from palm leaves. In ancient times, traders and bedouins would bring their goods, including perfumes, spices, rugs and handicrafts to sell in the market.

The souq is an array of small shops that offer everything from handmade merchandise to local honey, spices, dried fruits, and ghee. Fanja was once a business hub and the wealthy people of Fanja had expanded their trade ties to Zanzibar, India, and Africa.

Many people from Fanja and the neighbouring villages come to the souq either as buyers or sellers who exhibit their products. The souq showcases a wonderful collection of handicrafts that are locally made. There are also coffee pots, leather goods, antiques, and household products as well as dried fish displayed in the yard of the souq. This outstanding souq also includes artistic products made of wood such as decorated boxes, called Mandoos, in which people used to store clothes during the olden days.

“Fanja is just about 25 kilometres from Muscat. It is a historical town renowned for its hot springs, forts and watch towers,” said Oman’s Ministry of Tourism. “But other than the natural beauty of the place, one of its top attractions is its traditional souq. The turn on the road that indicates the direction of the souq takes you on a picturesque road with the Sultan Qaboos Mosque of Fanja to the left a hard reference point to miss.

“Once you get to the area, a sudden splash of colour and the rush of different activities will definitely get your attention. The souq is a row of shops filled with merchandise depending on the interest of the shop owners,” they added. “Fanja is considered the gateway of Al Dakhiliyah region as it is the first city that welcomes visitors after they’ve left Muscat. In fact, it is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Wilayat of Bid Bid in Al Dakhiliyah region.”