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World Heritage


 Bahra Fort

Bahra Fort

The oasis of Bahla owes its prosperity to the Banu Nebhan, the dominant tribe in the area from the 12 th to the end of the 15 th century. The ruins of the immense fort, with its walls and towers of unbaked brick and its stone foundations, is a remarkable example of this type of fortification and attests to the power of the Banu Nebhan.


 Archaeological Sites of Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn

Al Ayn

The protohistoric site of Bat lies near a palm grove in the interior of the Sultanate of Oman. Together with the neighbouring sites, it forms the most complete collection of settlements and necropolises from the 3 rd millennium B.C. in the world.


 Land of Frankincense


The frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah and the remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr/Wubar and the affiliated ports of Khor Rori and Al-Balid vividly illustrate the trade in frankincense that flourished in this region for many centuries, as one of the most important trading activities of the ancient and medieval world.
Criterion iii The group of archaeological sites in Oman represent the production and distribution of frankincense, one of the most important luxury items of trade in the Old World in antiquity. Criterion iv The Oasis of Shishr and the entrepots of Khor Rori and Al-Balid are outstanding examples of medieval fortified settlements in the Persian Gulf region.


 Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman


The property includes five aflaj irrigation systems and represents some 3,000 such systems still in use in Oman. The origins of this system of irrigation may date back to 500 A.D., but archaeological evidence suggests that irrigation systems existed in this extremely arid area as early as 2,500 B.C. Aflaj, is the plural of falaj which, in classical Arabic means to divide into shares and equitable sharing of a scarce resource to ensure sustainability remains the hallmark of this irrigation system. Using gravity, water is channelled from underground sources or springs to support agriculture and domestic use, often over many kilometres. The fair and effective management and sharing of water in villages and towns is still underpinned by mutual dependence and communal values and guided by astronomical observations. Numerous watchtowers built to defend the water systems form part of the listed property reflecting the historic dependence of communities on the aflaj system. Other buildings listed in association with the aflaj are mosques, houses, sundials, and water auction buildings. Threatened by the lowering level of the underground water table, the aflaj represent an exceptionally well-preserved form of land use.


 Arabian Oryx Sanctuary

Arabian Oryx

Christchurch, New Zealand, 28 June - The World Heritage Committee on Thursday took the unprecedented decision of removing a site from UNESCO's World Heritage List. The Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman), home to the rare antelope, today became the first site to be deleted since UNESCO's 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage entered into force. The World Heritage Committee deleted the property because of Oman's decision to reduce the size of the protected area by 90%, in contravention of the Operational Guidelines of the Convention. This was seen by the Committee as destroying the outstanding universal value of the site which was inscribed in 1994. In 1996, the population of the Arabian Oryx in the site, was at 450 but it has since dwindled to 65 with only about four breeding pairs making its future viability uncertain. This decline is due to poaching and habitat degradation. After extensive consultation with the State Party, the Committee felt that the unilateral reduction in the size of the Sanctuary and plans to proceed with hydrocarbon prospection would destroy the value and integrity of the property, which is also home to other endangered species including, the Arabian Gazelle and houbara bustard. The Committee expressed regret that the State Party failed to fulfill its obligations regarding the conservation of the Sanctuary as defined by the World Heritage Convention.

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