"Nizwa and the People of Nizwa" Nizwa by bwk_michael
Nizwa Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 79 photos
Nizwa is the largest city in the Ad Dakhiliyah Region in Oman and was the capital of Oman proper. Nizwa is about 140 km (1.5 hours) from Muscat. The population is estimated at around 70,000 people including the two areas of Burkat Al Mooz and Al Jabel Al Akhdar.
Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman and it was once a center of trade, religion, education and art. Its Jama (grand mosque) was formerly a center for Islamic learning. Nizwa acquired its importance because it has been an important meeting point at the base of the Western Hajar Mountains. Set amid a verdant spread of date palms, it is strategically located at the crossroads of routes linking the interior with Muscat and the lower reaches of Dhofar thus serving as the link for a large part of the country. Today, Nizwa is a diverse prosperous place with numerous agricultural, historical and recreational aspects. Nizwa is a center for date growing and is the market place for the area.
The city, famous for its handicrafts and agricultural products, has an expansive souq showcasing an array of products. It is one of the most important in the country besides Muttrah. The souq bustles with vendors selling everything from meat, fish, fruits and vegetables to spices, dates, gold and silverware. Nizwa is renowned for its silver jewelry which is considered to be the best in the country. Its people are masters in Khanjar making (curved dagger), recognised for its distinctive style and patterns. Silver jewellery sold here includes bracelets, earrings and ornaments for the hair. They also make copper ware, coffee pots, swords, leather goods and pottery. Visitors can watch expert craftsmen in action as they fashion a range of exquisite artifacts. Halwa (a traditional Omani dessert) is also sold in the souq. Halwa is a sticky dessert made from sugar and spices and flavoured with sesame seeds or almonds.
The far end of the Nizwa Souq hosts a lively livestock market early each Friday morning in the shade of date palm trees. Local farmers bring their cows, goats and sheep to be inspected, auctioned and sold to the highest bidders. The scene is crowded and busy especially on the eve of Eid festivities. The obstinate behaviour of the animals often provides great amusement for the spectators. Visitors get an excellent opportunity to observe local customs
Nizwa and the neighboring town of Bahla used to have a reputation of being homes to individuals who practice witchcraft and magic works. The most popular claim is instantaneous travel by drawing a line on the ground and crossing it to appear at the desired place. Another claim is spotting people who have been dead for many years. The explanation is that these people did not actually die but appeared to because they were eaten and then controlled by witches. Today, although many elders swear that they have seen weird things and witnessed supernatural acts, no one can substantiate these claims with hard evidence and they were likely due to superstition and lack of education in those old times.
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