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Travel to Oman: Nizwa: Photo 1

world pictures Oman: Nizwa

From the top of the fort, looking south over the oasis palms.  The distant hills frame the jauf, or basin, which is perhaps the most prominent topographic feature of Oman proper.  The palms are watered by two major falaj (plural aflaj), or irrigation systems.  There are 4,000 of these systems in Oman--counting only the thirty percent that flow perennially.  The most important one at Nizwa is the Falaj Daris, which runs for two miles underground before emerging at the surface to be divided among the date growers.  Some 40 varieties of dates are grown here.  Traditionally, farmers grew several varieties, some bearing as early as June, others as late as December.  Nowadays, however, almost the only varieties being planted are the highly prized yellow khalas or red khunaizi.  The fruit from a single khalas is worth over $300 a year, and farmers sell their dates all at once and park the money in the bank.

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