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Al Balid City

The Most Important Ancient Port on the Arabian Sea (Part of the Frankincense Trail) history dates back to before 2000 BC. Some archaeological research confirms that the city's prosperity dates back to the Iron Age. Much of this city’s remains lie in Dhofar Governorate.

The city was a trade hub, being one of the largest ports on the Indian Ocean, making it a thriving commercial centre for the export of frankincense to China and Rome. The city’s location was first discovered in 1930. Currently, the office of His Majesty the Sultan's Adviser for Cultural Affairs is carrying out a comprehensive programme to develop the site, which is a collection of ruins covering a rectangular area of 64 hectares, surrounded by high walls to the east and north, and a small trench to the west. The wall has four gates.

The ancient city was divided into three main sections: commercial, residential and a section devoted to services. There were also a mosque and a fort on the west side. In 2000, Al Balid City was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Al Balid Fort: These monumental ruins represent the remains of Al Balid Fort. They tower to a height of 13 metres, with three circular towers in the corners, as well as several other semi-circular towers. The low ground in the middle of the fort is the remains of a large courtyard. It is believed that Al Balid Fort once comprised more than four storeys.

Al Madinah Wall: To the north-west of the fort lie the remnants of the ancient city wall, used for protection from the seasonal rains that flooded the mountains of Dhofar.