Bisya & Salut
Cultural Landscape of Bisya & Salut and its Archaeological Remains is part of the Tentative list of Oman in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Bisya & Salut comprises archaeoligical sites from the Early Bronze Age to the Iron Age. The remains include circular towers and cemeteries. It is proposed as a cultural landscape of an ancient oasis settlement.
Map of Bisya & SalutLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
I visited this tentative WHS in January 2021 as a day trip from Nizwa. The archaelogical remains of Bisya and Salut are some 30 km away from Bahla Fort which would make for an interesting stop if you were only to focus on the Salut Archaeological Park with a huge newly built museum.
The cultural landscape of Bisya and Salut is situated where Wadi Seyfam and Wadi Bahla converge, which provided the water necessary for irrigation and therefore enabled permanent human settlements. Several archeological remains have been found and most are still being excavated. The best examples are clustered in close proximity to Jabreen Castle, at the clearly marked Salut Archaeological Park. As is the case with similar archaeological sites in Oman, the Salut castle (bottom right photo) and residential buildings (bottom left photo), together with the newly built museum are now fenced off with a security guard on duty at all times. An Italian team was conducting excavations and restoration works at the time of my visit and it was not possible to enter inside the castle remains (here you can find an interesting read on their works). These remains are quite similar in size and layout to the Al Baleed or the Sumhuram Archaeological Remains in Salalah.
After exploring this area, I decided to go round the fenced perimiter by car on a manageable unpaved road till I reached the nearby rocky hill (Jabal Salut) with 2 Bronze Age cairns, towers or beehive tombs (top right photo). It is quite an uphill walk on loose rocks but is a great spot for sunrise/sunset overlooking the Salut castle remains. Like the already inscribed beehive tombs, these sites are not fenced at all so are freely accessible day and night. Before visiting Salut, I was curious about a recently restored Roman-looking temple shrine which stood on top of this hill till 2020. The site, mentioned also on the UNESCO description, exuded a sense of mystery with its unique (in Arabia) rectangular plan building whose roofing was originally sustained by two rows of six cylindrical columns. However, a recent earthquake and/or landslide in 2020, must have made the structure topple down. If indeed the structure really existed in ancient times, the restored structure was most definitely a sloppy concrete replica which now lies with the rest of the hill rubble (top left photo).
Although I enjoyed my visit during my extended stay in Oman, I don't think that this tentative WHS would add anything new the OUV already portrayed through the WHS in Oman and elsewhere.
Renomination of "Prehistoric Settlements in Bisya & Salut" (2013)
2014 Added to Tentative List
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