This is Oman’s fifth World Heritage Site
24 July 2018| Last updated on 6 August 2019
UNESCO announced that the city of Qalhat on the coast of Oman has been added to their World Heritage List.
This comes at a great timing as Oman placed tourism high on their economic agendas to help generate income streams other than oil. Qalhat, a city that dates back to pre-Islamic times, is now the fifth historical site in Oman to be declared a World Heritage Site. This is the maximum amount of heritage sites that a country can have. Saudi Arabia and Oman are the only countries in the GCC who have the maximum amount of heritage sites allowed in the country.
Other UNESCO World Heritage sites include:
- Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman
- Archaeological Sites of Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn
- Bahla Fort
- Land of Frankincense
Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development was among those who praised this announcement saying that: "Over 3,500 years ago, it was the location of a thriving port city, which played a vital role in connecting ancient trading routes throughout the Indian Ocean."
Qalhat was developed on the east coast of Arabia between 11 and 15 AD. This was during the reign of the Hormuz princes and, according to the Omani submission, was a key trading hub with commerce in especially Arabian horses and Chinese porcelain.
During the 13th century governor, Ayaz ruled over Qalhat but split his time between Hormuz and Qalhat. In his absence Ayaz’s wife, Maryam, ruled. After Ayaz passed away, his wife continued ruling until 1319. Bibi Maryam supposedly built the Great Friday Mosque and a mausoleum for her late husband. This shows how much power women could hold in an Arabic society during that time.
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Further to this rich history, the city bears unique archaeological testimony to the trade links between the east coast of Arabia, East Africa, India, China and south-east Asia.