Interview by Ali Al Badi
Welcome to the Sultanate of Oman! My name is Anwar Al Badi, and I am from the Wilayat of Buraimi! Join me as I take you through the place I call home.
The region was previously known as Al Jou and Twam. Al Buraimi officially became a governorate in 2006, after the issuance of Royal Decree No. 108/2006 stipulated the establishment of a governorate called Al Buraimi governorate that includes the wilayats of Mhadha, Buraimi and Sunaynah.
Could you tell me a little bit about your hometown?
I live in the Wilayat of Buraimi. The town of Buraimi is geographically just before the border between the UAE and Oman, and is opposite the city of Al Ain.
The Wilayat of Al Buraimi is also the main centre of education for the governorate, as it includes many schools, universities, and colleges such as Al Talaia School for Basic Education, Al Buraimi University College, Al Buraimi University, and the Institute of Islamic Sciences.
What’s there to see in your wilayat?
The wilayat includes a number of areas, including Hilla, Hamasa, Hafit, Al Jou, Al Saraa, Sharee’ah, Al Shindagah, Khadra Al Saih, Al Khadhra, Sa’a and Al Aqdah. The wilayat is distinguished because it includes a number of historical and tourist attractions such as Al Khandaq Castle, Al Fayyad Castle and Bait Al Bahar, Hilla Fort and the Wadi Al Jizzi Castle.
There are also a number of hotels to stay, and plenty of areas to shop for souvenirs, or supermarkets if you’re on the hunt for supplies.
Hmm…sounds interesting, what about the other areas?
The Wilayat of Mhadha is geographically located next Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, and is surrounded on the southwest by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Wilayat of Al Buraimi. It is also bordered on the north by the emirates of Sharjah and Dubai. To the east is the city of Sohar and the town of Shinas.
The Wilayat of Sunaynah, on the other hand, is bordered on one side by Saudi Arabia. Geographically, this territory forms the region before the north western borders of the Sultanate.
Alright, how is Mhada different from Buraimi, in terms of what you can see?
Mhadha is characterised by its agricultural lands that are used to cultivate wheat, fruit and legumes, so you can expect to see plenty of farmland. It is also known for its traditional crafts such as weaving and spinning, and its historic tourist attractions such as Beit Al Nad Castle, Mhadha Falaj, Wadi Sharm, the region of Al Jazeera, the Masab Al Hayer, the Cave Park and the valleys of the village of Al Jewaif.
That sounds like a lot to explore! What about Al Sunaynah?
If you’re in the governorate and want to watch traditional camel races, then head to Al Sunaynah. It also has a textile and weaving industry, as well as agricultural lands. Farmers also raise livestock such as camels and sheep on the wilayat’s pastoral plains. It’s also a great place to go dune bashing, as the region has plenty of sand dunes.
A prominent natural landmark there is Jabal Hafeet, which rises to 1,300 metres above sea level. Another great place to see is Wadi Al Fateh, one of many valleys among the Hajar Mountains that are located quite close to the Empty Quarter.
Could you tell us about the traditions and culture of your wilayat?
Some of our best traditions are on display during weddings, which is a grand time for the entire family. As part of our practices at weddings, we wear our traditional Omani dress with the Omani khanjar, as well as the shawl, with either a stick or the traditional Omani sword. Our joys are intermingled with traditions and customs that express happiness, and include songs such as the razfah and ayalah.
Tradition runs deep in Buraimi, then! Could you tell us about other occasions that are special?
One of the days we all honour is Eid, when we first go to pray, accompanied by our fathers, as well the rest of the family… my brothers, cousins, and neighbours, in an open location. We wear our Buraimi-style dishdasha and mussar, and we pray. We then greet each other before going home to congratulate our other family members and neighbours.
On the second day, we prepare a grilled meat dish that is locally called mashwi. In other parts of the country, it is called shuwa.
We dig a hole in the ground, within which firewood is lit, and after it becomes really hot, we place flavoured and seasoned meats in wrappings of wet palm fronds and banana leaves, so that the meat inside cooks well, and gives it great taste. We then cover the hole with an iron lid and top it off with sand so that the air does not enter the hole, enabling the pressure within it to cook the meat well. In the evening, we arrange some spiced meat on skewers – what we call mashakeek and share it with our family members, young and old. We eat this with bread, vegetables, hummus and some soft drinks. [email protected]