Remains of a large medieval settlement, which once extended into today's plantations, are still preserved on the al-Baleed (High Arabic al-Balad, "the city") promontory on the lagoon to the east of Salalah's beach.
Through a gate on the road along the coast of Salalah one enters the area on which in recent years a large archeological park was created. The adjoining museum "Museum of the Frankincense Land" gives a vivid and appealing overview of the country's important maritime history.
In several phases of excavation, the remains of the historic port city have been uncovered within the last few years by American, Italian, German and Omani archaeologists.
In the west of the debris field you can clearly see the remains of the large mosque: of the original 148 pillars, which surrounded a courtyard in four rows in the middle of the complex, only a few stumps of the columns were preserved. The missing pillars have been replaced by new, half-height stone columns. There was no fortified harbor; the goods were loaded and unloaded in shallow water with small boats.
The complex of al-Baleed is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
► You can be shown around the archaeological park sitting in a golf caddy for an extra charge on top of the entrance fee, which can be very practical in the heat and for travellers with limited mobility on the extensive grounds in beautiful countryside.