Nizwa Fort (Oman, 17th century)

Nizwa Fort (Oman, 17th century)

The round tower of the largest fort in the Arabian Peninsula had an ingenious defence system.

History

Keywords

Nizwa Fort, Nizwa, Oman, fortress, castle, fortress architecture, defensive ring, circular bastion, rook, tower, round tower, Arabic, building, architecture, siege, military strategy, shelter, sultan, Arabian Peninsula, modern history, history

Related items

Scenes

Section of the Tower

Fort

Nizwa Fort

Defence

Walk

Quiz

Narration

The Sultanate of Oman is located on the Arabian Peninsula. Due to its geographical location, it has often witnessed attacks, for which reason numerous forts have been built on its territory over the centuries. The town of Nizwa, which was earlier a commercial, religious and cultural centre, is the oldest city in the country. The Nizwa fort is the largest of its kind on the Arabian Peninsula and is also the most visited monument in the Sultanate.

The fort was built in the second half of the 17th century, although its foundations actually date back to the 12th century. The fort is protected by a wall surrounded by towers and bastions, which also forms part of the city wall.

The main component of the fort is a huge round tower that is 30 metres high and has a diameter of 36 metres.
Its massive inner wall was reinforced with sand and gravel to strengthen its defence against cannon fire. The outer wall is coated with a special layer of lime plaster. The forts' deep wells, storage facilities, cells and place of prayer made it possible for its defenders to survive long sieges.

The tower's defence system reflects the ingenuity of the Omani military engineers and architects. To ensure surveillance of the whole area, the battlement was designed with arrow slits and observation points. Slots were carved in the walls for the snipers, so that the bullets could hit their target with deadly accuracy.

A sheltered terrace was built on top of the tower, right above the entrance, from where one could hurl stones at besiegers. The only way attackers could reach the top of the tower was by climbing a dark, steep, narrow, winding stairway one by one. Nor was a battering ram of much use in breaking down the reinforced doors.

Also, defenders had a number of surprises in store for attackers on both sides of the doors. Boiling liquid would be poured onto unwanted visitors through the shafts from the upper floor, while an almost invisible trapdoor would await those who did manage to enter through the gate.

Although the majestic castle was rebuilt on several occasions, it still bears witness to Oman's bright past. Year after year it attracts a great number of tourists.

Related items

The fortress of Oradea (1775)

The fortress of Oradea in Transylvania is a good example of medieval fortress architecture.

Austrian Habsburg infantryman

The infantry of the Habsburg Empire were deployed in numerous battles.

Soldiers of the American Civil War

The American Civil War was fought between the Confederacy and the Union.

Guillotine

The device designed to carry out executions more humanely than before was named after a...

Modern empires

Numerous legendary empires were built (and destroyed) in the course of history.

Hot-air balloon (18th century)

The French Montgolfier brothers were the first pioneers of flying.

Napoleonic Wars

Napoleon I, who crowned himself emperor, was one of the most outstanding military...

Haiduk (Hungarian soldiers of the 16th century)

István Bocskay created a successful army from former armed cattle herders in the 16th...

Added to your cart.