It started with a question about bananas. After a watermellon truck lumbered past us, I asked our driver about the banana we had eaten for breakfast. Where do they come from? Almost immediately, we turned off the highway that connects Muscat to Nizwa on a little detour. Birkat Al-Mouz is an oasis that home to many things, birds, trees including palm and banana, and an old village that wanders up the side of a small mountain.

Panoramic of the abandoned buildings and homes of the Old Village of Birkat Al-Mouz

We first started our detour with a 4 wheel drive up an incredibly steep road to a radio tower. Had I been the driver, I would have parked at the foot of the hill and walked up, but our stunt driver / driver decided to give it a go. It was a great place to see the oasis in the valley below. When it was time to turn the vehicle around, our driver told me to watch from behind. When I asked what to watch for, he said "The edge" and laughed at my fear. I told him as long as I could do that with my eyes closed, then we were all set.

We continued into the village and the desert sprun to life around us. I saw birds with beautiful long blue feathers that I had never seen before. The trees were planted in neat rows, and you could see the irrigation system winding along. We then parked the vehicle and wandered off up the stairs into the old city on our own.

Painted walls with inset shelves in a home Stairs leading higher in the city Carved wood head of a doorframe

We wandered through the streets, finding little remains of door frames, some old paint, and other forgotten items in and on the structures. We continued to winder how safe the structures were as we wandered in and up. It was like a ghost town; completely abandoned. Not even a stray cat was apparent. We spent about a half hour to an hour exploring before we decided to try to find our way back down and head off. This little suprise stop is probably our most memorable and favorite parts of our visit to Oman.

Inset cubby shelves in a mudbrick home Rugged wooden door to an abandoned home Old sewage system Pages of an old book turned by the breeze