In the region around the Bahla oasis there are large deposits of clay. It is striking that this important raw material has always been superabundant here. In contrast to the other oasis towns of Oman, in Bahla not only the settlement itself is protected by high clay walls, but also the whole area of the oasis in the wadi.
A fortified wall, up to five meters high and over ten kilometers in length, with numerous watchtowers built in, surrounds the extensive date gardens and fields, and winds through the mountains at the edge of the wadi and the depths of the river bed.
At the eastern end of the oasis the ruins of the Hisn Tama fort, another masterpiece of clay architecture, rise above a hill. It is named after the presumed architect of the gigantic fortification, a tribal chief of the Nabhani tribe in the 17th century.
This fortress is certainly not only the largest example of the art of building in clay in Oman, but in its own way one of the most impressive. Bahla Fort has been inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1987.
On the other side of the road, opposite the fort, is Bahla’s new souq, and, to the east of it, the old souq. A narrow track starts here, leading into the oasis and to the country’s famous potters.