Six archaeological wonders of Dhofar
The Dhofar region has always been an important part of the sultanate’s natural beauty due to its strategic location that overlooks the Arabian Sea.
However, apart from this, it is the frankincense trail that the region is famous for since olden times, which makes the Governorate of Dhofar an immensely popular tourist destination.
That’s not all; history is evidence that Dhofar has enjoyed a great reputation among the ancient civilisations of the world, namely the Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Persians and Pharaohs. The region was known for playing a major role in exporting horses and frankincense for the civilisations as a result of the golden trade era that it was witnessing. It was these financial and economic interactions with the rest of the world that paved the path to the discovery and emergence of different types of tourisms in the Dhofar governorate, religious as well as exploratory.
It is hence unsurprising that Dhofar is today a Mecca for tourists and visitors who are interested in the region’s ancient landmarks such as monuments and excavations, the Prophets’ tombs, geological formations and stone inscriptions belonging to the primitive age.
Listed below are six archaeological wonders that belong to Dhofar’s rich heritage and cultural legacy:
Al Marneef Cave:
Overlooking the splendid waters of the Arabian Sea, Al Marneef Cave stands above the highlands of Maghsail beach that is popular for its natural fountains. Due to the monsoon’s effect in the khareef season, the raging waves of the sea rush rapidly through rocky cavities which results in creating an extraordinary phenomenon that is the natural fountains. A rare phenomenon in this part of the world, these fountains grab the interest of many tourists and visitors. One can also take a stroll up to the cave as the path that leads to it is well-maintained and comfortable for walking and has many resting places on the way. Once at the cave, one can enjoy a scenic view of the blue ocean crushing over the grey rocks amidst a spritz of rain, a refreshing atmosphere and abundant greenery.
Ancient City of Samahram:
The Ancient City of Samahram, is also known as Khur Rori, and is a world heritage site that is part of the Frankincense route that was famous in ancient civilisations. Sahamhram is located to the west of Salalah and is an ancient city that was built to tighten control on the Frankincense trade, as revealed by five Petroglyphs written in old Arabic found at the site. According to the archaeological excavations conducted as the site, Samahram was a fenced rectangular shaped city, famous for its port which dates back to the first millennium BC. The port was a harbour for fleets from all over the world and played a significant role in connecting Oman with powerful civilisations like the Pharaonic civilisation, the Greeks, the Romans and the Sumerians.
Attracting the interest of many international archaeologists, the Shasr archaelogical site holds a number of prehistorical monuments as it was part of the frankincense route that was famous among ancient civilisations. Researchers suggest that the area was inhibited since the Stone Age. The site is filled with evidence of the wealth of the city as a result of the flourishing frankincense and horse trade, a fact that is also established further by the rich walls and several wells of the city. Shasr (Obar) is located to the west of Thumrait, 170km away from Salalah.
The site is a popular tourism destination as it portrays the elegantly crafted architecture of an old man, set on the edge of the Arabian Sea. One has to take a tour by boat to see the old monuments opposite the shore. The tour is a very unique experience as the journey comprises being surrounded by greenery and clear blue waters, along a coastline of historical significance. As long as you are there, you must not miss visiting the Ardh al Luban (museum of the frankincense land), which showcases the rich heritage of the civilisation that inhibited the area in olden times.
Also known as the birds well, Tiwi Ateer is one of the largest natural sinkholes in the world and is a sanctuary for local and migratory birds, making it is a popular destination amongst wildlife photographers. Not very far from the hole is Teeq Cave that can be seen from above the sinkhole. Tiwi Ateer is a pristine natural habitat with narrow routes, waterfalls, birds and a variety of flora and fauna.
An attraction for both residents and international travelers alike, the Tombs of Prophet Nabi Ayoob and Omran are found in Dhofar. Nestled among the beautiful mountains of Dhofar, both the tombs are surrounded by beautiful green landscapes and a pleasant breezy atmosphere.