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Heritage Management Plan

View the Harat Al-Aqr HMP on ISSUU

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StatusCompleted (2013)
Heritage Management
ZoneArabian Peninsula
LocationDakhiliya, Oman
Coordinates22°57'45.95" N, 57°18'05.41" E
Funded byMinistry of Heritage and Culture, Sultanate of Oman
Nottingham Trent University
Research team

Prof Soumyen Bandyopadhyay
Principal Investigator
Dr Giamila Quattrone

Research Fellow
Dr Martin S. Goffriller

Research Fellow
Dr M Habib Reza

Research Fellow
Haitham Al-Abri

PhD student
John Harrison

Expert in Vernacular Architecture
MD Abdullh Al Zobair

PhD Student
Maryam Ahmadi

PhD Student
Paul Macmahon

Graduate Student
Paul Colfer

Graduate Student
Charlie Adams
SPUR Student




Documentation and Heritage Management Plan of Harat al-Aqr (BAHLA, UNESCO World Heritage Site)

One of the most ancient of Oman's oasis settlements, Bahla has been inducted in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list due to its unique architectural character. The gigantic mud brick fort (one of the largest in the world), the restoration of which was completed in November 2012, and the large expanse of agricultural lands associated with the settlement of Harat al-Aqr, give a unique character to this place which has been settled since at least the 2nd millennium BC.

Harat al-Aqr (BAHLA, UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Harat al-Aqr (Bahla World Heritage Site), Bahla Fort. Photo: ArCHIAM, 2012

The growing number of tourists who visit both the fort, the harat and well as the weekly market are an indicator of the extraordinary cultural and economic value which resides in the ancient heritage, and it is to the preservation of this value that this document is dedicated. In particular the preservation of Bahla's palm groves and agricultural systems, closely related to the water channels which define the urban core of al-Aqr and irrigate the lush expanse of green which surrounds it, are essential to character of the site.

Harat al-Aqr (Bahla World Heritage Site). Photo: ArCHIAM, 2012
Harat al-Aqr (Bahla World Heritage Site): ground floor plan (top left), analysis of construction types (top right), zoning plan (middle right), analysis of settlement components (bottom right) and visual of proposed experiential tourist trail along the defensive wall. Images: ArCHIAM, 2013.

In an attempt to fulfil the UNESCO guidelines for the preservation of this high priority site, Oman's Ministry of Culture and Heritage commissioned ArCHIAM to develop a highly detailed HMP for the settlement of al-Aqr, located immediately south of the Fort. The project has put forward preservation and development strategies that stretch beyond the urban confines of the settlement and include the oasis as a whole.

Harat al-Aqr
Harat al-Aqr (Bahla World Heritage Site), entrance lobby of house (left) and access gate, with sablah above, into the Guzheili quarter(right). Photos: ArCHIAM, 2013