Day 6 and 7: Nizwa and the Djinn

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We spent the last two days in Nizwa, the former capital of Oman. On our first day in Nizwa, everybody got a chance to visit the souq for the first time. Students tried their hand at bargaining and buying some souvenirs. Nizwa, and it’s surrounding areas are filled with ancient forts and evidence of civilizations that span back 5,000 years. We started off first with the Wadi Al Ayn tombs, which show evidence of the Magan civilization from 5,000 years ago. These tombs are well preserved and left many of our students wondering how they were able stay that way for so long. We then traveled to the Jabreen Castle, where the Imam of Oman used to live, finally we traveled to Bahla, visiting another fort where it is believed that the Djinn is present. The Djinn is a magical force in Oman that keeps Omanis on their toes throughout their life and keeps them very superstitious regarding their actions every day. Most Omanis have personal stories that revolve around the mystical Djinn.

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Today we visited ancient tombs on the top of a mountain at Wadi Al Ayn. They were built during the 3rd millennium BC and the historians believe that they were used as a place to bury important people of a civilization that was placed in that area. The archeologists could not find any bones inside of the tombs but because they are so hard to build and because of its location – on a top of a beautiful mountain – they cannot think about a better argument that explains why those monuments were built. They all have the same shape and size and were built with stones which are arranged in such way that form a kind of cave to protect the dead body.
In the beginning, I was interested in the math and physics involved in those constructions, since the only material used to make them was stones. I also appreciated the landscape around the mountain while we were taking pictures and that motivated me to think about what that place really meant for the people who lived there hundreds of years ago.
By the end, I was not sure about why people decided to build those monuments and what was their meaning. However, the fact that they are still preserved there for so much time is amazing, they are a bridge that connects the modern humans to the ancient humans. Those historical sites and constructions give us the opportunity to explore and think more about those who lived in this world before us and also to reflect about the ephemerality of life.
Those historical sites and constructions give us the opportunity to explore and think more about those who lived in this world before us and also to reflect about the ephemerality of life.
– Roberta P. ’18
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The second place we went was the Jabreen Castle. It was built primarily for the Imam. It built around 1680 CE. The reason why he built it, it’s that he moved the capital from Nizwa to Jabreen. He eventually died in his spectacular castle and his tomb is also in the castle.
The Jabreen castle was restored between 1979 and 1983. The whole building has 3 stories. The castle was really a home that was built specifically for the Imam. For example, he loved his horse, so he built a room for his horse to live in! We also discussed some of hte ancient punishments for crimes in Oman.
– Mario C. ’18

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