Saturday, June 1: This morning, Mario takes his friend Sultan and me to see the extensive ruins in Adam, about 40 km south of Nizwa in Ad Dakhiliyah region. I am surprised to see such an extensive array of ruins, and to see that they are actually being restored.
We take a long stroll through ancient forts, citadels and towers, mosques and deserted traditional souqs, all surrounded by beautiful gardens of date palms, pomegranates, apricots, figs, bananas and numerous other fruit trees. Today is about 40 degrees C (104 F) and unusually high humidity for the interior, so we are sweating profusely. I drink a bottle of water; despite this, my head is pounding. We make a short detour to the local market for Panadol. This is not a strenuous hike, mind you, but even a leisurely stroll is taxing in this heat.
The history of the Wilayat of Adam dates back to pre-Islamic times. Adam has several meanings in Arabic but most likely means “fertile land.” The most notable places are Harrat Al Ain, Harrat al Bousaid, Harrat Al Hawashim & Harrat Bani Shiban, where several archeological sites have been found, and Harr Al Jamii, which is more recent. About 13,000 people live in sixty villages around Adam. (Wikipedia: Adam, Oman)
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When Mario visited Adam last weekend, he got a tour of the ruins from a local Omani man who told him about the restoration project. A large section of the ruins, where we find many painted rooms, has been restored already. The government seems to be using mud bricks for the restoration, which is same construction material as the original buildings.
Apparently, in March of 2012, a meeting was held between the Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MoHC) and the Ministry of Tourism on restoration and management plans for Al Jame village in Adam and Al Bilad in Manah, where intensive restoration work is going on. Other members of the committee included the Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources and the Supreme Committee for Town Planning. (Muscat Daily: Restoration of historical sites to be discussed at MoHC meeting).
It’s obvious to us as we walk around how expensive this project must be. We have visited so many ruins throughout Oman that are in various stages of disintegration, so Mario and I are both pleased to see the government restoring these amazing ruins. At least these villages can increase local employment and make some money off these tourist sites. Mario also thinks the ruins could be used in movie sets.
Click on any of the images below for a full-sized slide show.
This project is just one example of the amazing things Sultan Qaboos has done in this country to bring its people into the modern world. The list is extensive: excellent roads, hospitals, schools and universities, a huge airport that is currently under construction, desalination plants, dams and recharge dams, and too many other projects to count. As I have a Master’s degree in International Commerce and Policy, the focus of which is economic development, and as I have traveled extensively all over the world and seen many places where the governments do NOT take care of their people, I have to salute the visionary Sultan and his government for a comprehensive development plan in the midst of a very harsh environment.
We’re exhausted from our 2 hour stroll through these ruins in the heat, so we go to the New Firq Restaurant for an early lunch. On our way, I ask Sultan when he started wearing glasses, as I’ve never seen him wearing them before. Mario says, “Show her your glasses.” He doesn’t take them off, but I say to him what I suspected all along: “Don’t tell me those glasses don’t have lenses in them!” Sultan shows me how the frames broke and the lenses fell out. I ask why he is still wearing them. I am reminded of Korean boys who often wore frames without lenses, and I thought that was silly. Sultan says, “Don’t they make me look stylish?” I say, “They make you look like you’re trying too hard.” Mario says, “I said the same thing to him!”
Sometimes, great minds think alike….. 🙂