History in the making

03 Sep 2014
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Oman’s key heritage sites are to be turned into living museums, the Ministry of Heritage and Culture announced this week.

While several sites of architectural and historical significance are abandoned and in ruins, the Ministry said it was determined to rebuild these places of interest for tourists and locals alike.

“There is a possibility of converting some key heritage sites into places of tourist interest and plans are also being made to organise heritage exhibitions in the future,” said Professor Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, from the Department of Architecture at Nottingham Trent University in the UK.

The Ministry granted Prof Bandyopadhyay funding to conduct research into the heritage significance of various sites for their preservation and reuse in Oman.

As Y reported last month, there are about 1,000 settlements, most of them in ruins, spread across the Sultanate that need to be documented. The Ministry’s ongoing efforts in documenting these sites is part of a much larger project that aims to preserve ancient settlements in Oman for tourism purposes and for learning about the heritage of Oman.

“We want to keep a balance between the modern and the traditional,” H. E. Salim bin Mohammed al Mahruqi, the Undersecretary for Heritage Affairs, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The Ministry has partnered with local universities to help with the project, including Sultan Qaboos University, Buraimi University and Nizwa University. Sharqiyah University has also been invited to join the project.

Five key sites have already been documented: Bahla, Ibri, Birkat al Mawz, Fanja and Izki.

Plans are also under way to introduce courses at Sultan Qaboos University that will teach students about the building heritage of Oman.

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