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Notes on the Geography of Oman: Jibrin

Oman's grandest fort--Bahla--has been closed for years while bureaucratic wars are fought over its proper restoration.  Nearby Jibrin Fort is a good alternative, however, a fortress converted into a fortress-palace about 1680 by Bilarab bin Sultan, son of Nizwa Fort's builder. Greatly enlarged 40 years later by Muhammad bin Nasir, Jibrin was superbly restored in the early 1980s from a state of near-ruin. The work was done by Oman's Ministry of National Heritage and Culture under the direction of Enrico D'Errico.

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Oman: Jibrin picture 1

The design is externally simple but internally much more complex: the massive walls--more than six feet thick to withstand cannon--enclose two rectangular blocks separated by a courtyard and connected to each other by only a narrow passage.  Not quite a maze, the floor plan is still very hard to figure out.

Oman: Jibrin picture 2

One block has latticework shading clerestory windows.

Oman: Jibrin picture 3

Topside view over the oasis and plain.

Oman: Jibrin picture 4

Courtyard wall, seen from the roof.

Oman: Jibrin picture 5

The same balcony, seen from the ground.

Oman: Jibrin picture 6

Finely scalloped ogee arch over an entrance from the courtyard.

Oman: Jibrin picture 7

Internal door.

Oman: Jibrin picture 8

The mihrab of the mosque.  No clocks, no microphones, no fluorescent tubes, no framed pictures.  Hear the silence.

Oman: Jibrin picture 9

Upstairs living quarters.  The height and clerestories help keep the place relatively cool.

Oman: Jibrin picture 10

The thick walls help, too.  Here, the sun and moon room.

Oman: Jibrin picture 11

A clerestory window in that room.

Oman: Jibrin picture 12

Wall above a fireplace.

Oman: Jibrin picture 13

Ceiling support.

Oman: Jibrin picture 14

Carved roof beam.

Oman: Jibrin picture 15

Downstairs, water once arrived through Falaj Jibrin, which runs through the length of the fort.

Oman: Jibrin picture 16

Another view, showing a branch channel.

Oman: Jibrin picture 17

Doorless cupboards.

Oman: Jibrin picture 18

Date stores.

Oman: Jibrin picture 19

Trays.

Oman: Jibrin picture 20

Cooking utensils.

Oman: Jibrin picture 21

Mortars and pestles.

Oman: Jibrin picture 22

Urn.

Oman: Jibrin picture 23

Spandrel over the tomb of the fort's builder, Bala'rab bin Sultan (d. 1692).

Oman: Jibrin picture 24

Barrel vault over the tomb


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