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April 7, 2002

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People know Oman for its forts. Hundreds stand guard in towns, cities, and along the coast. We visit the better known forts at Jabreen, Nizwa, Bahla and Nakhal. Desert miles separate each one, so we use various methods of transportation: mini-bus, service taxi, and hitching. The desert makes hitch hiking easy. Drivers see you from long distances, they're always going your way (not many routes here), and they don't want to leave you in the scorching sun.
Fort guards greenery. Over 500 forts still stand in Oman, the legacy of extensive inter-tribal warfare and the need to guard vital trade routes that made Oman rich in the old days.
Nakhal fort, as depicted on the 200 baisa note (1000 baisa equal 1 Riyal).
Where there's a fort, there's a mosque.
We had Jabreen fort to ourselves; we could have looted the place of its artefacts.