Travel to Oman: Jibrin
Oman's grandest fort--Bahla--has been closed for years while bureaucratic wars are fought over its proper restoration. Nearby Jibrin Fort is a good alternative, however, a fortress converted into a fortress-palace about 1680 by Bilarab bin Sultan, son of Nizwa Fort's builder, and greatly enlarged 40 years later by Muhammad bin Nasir. From near-ruin, Jibrin was superbly reconstructed in 1979-83 by Oman's Ministry of National Heritage and Culture under the direction of chief architect Enrico D'Errico.
The design is externally simple but internally much more complex: the massive walls--more than six feet thick to withstand cannon--enclose two rectangular blocks separated by a courtyard and connected to each other by only a narrow passage. Not quite a maze, the floor plan is still very hard to figure out.
View of one block with latticework over clerestory windows far above windows usually kept shuttered.
Topside view over the oasis and plain.
Courtyard wall, seen from the roof.
The same balcony, seen from the ground.
Finely scalloped ogee arch over an entrance from the courtyard.
The mihrab of the internal mosque. No clocks, no microphones, no fluorescent tubes, no framed pictures. Hear the silence.
Upstairs living quarters. The height and clerestories help keep the place relatively cool.
The thick walls help, too. Here, the sun and moon room.
Ornament on a clerestory in the room.
Detail of ornamented beam.
Downstairs, water once arrived through Falaj Jibrin, which runs through the length of the fort.
Another view, showing a branch channel.
Mortars and pestles.
Spandrel over the tomb of the fort's builder, Bala'rab bin Sultan (d. 1692).
Barrel vault over the tomb
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