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Notes on the Geography of Oman: Hamra

Hamra is 20 miles northwest of Nizwa. There are actually two Hamras, one new and the other a museum.

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Oman: Hamra picture 1

A view over the town's irrigated land; in the distance, new Hamra. 

Oman: Hamra picture 2

Entrance of the old town.

Oman: Hamra picture 3

The old town is on a slope overlooking the palms.

Oman: Hamra picture 4

Much of it is decaying.

Oman: Hamra picture 5

Still, you can get a good look at the traditional way to support walls over windows here.

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Typical shelving built into the wall.

Oman: Hamra picture 7

Above, narrow, traditional windows and a palm-log ceiling.

Oman: Hamra picture 8

Stairs to the roof.

Oman: Hamra picture 9

Newer buildings do have framed doors and windows.

Oman: Hamra picture 10

A building of many windows, some old-style and others new.

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Doorway into the Hamra suq or market.

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Four dozen stalls.

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Oman: Hamra picture 14

There's a scattering of people still in the old town; here, a creative use for palm leaves.

Oman: Hamra picture 15

Down in the groves, walls separate properties.

Oman: Hamra picture 16

Irrigation channels.

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Protecting a young palm.

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At maturity.

Oman: Hamra picture 19

A mechanical intruder.  Note the irrigation ditch.  It was common for large aflaj to bifurcate, with one channel serving the needs of the palms and another those of people.  Water rights for agriculture were carefully guarded, but domestic water was delivered without charge and was neatly arranged so water was taken first for drinking, then for bathing and washing, and finally for ritually bathing the dead.

Oman: Hamra picture 20

Domestic water.

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