A soldier’s life is never easy. Soldiers are required to be ever vigilant, always standing guard against foes, and alerting their comrades when they spot the enemy on the horizon.
When off duty, soldiers were of course allowed to leave the barracks, but that building would be the mainstay of their careers. It was where they would eat, it was where they’d sleep, and it’s also where they’d hang about with their comrades in arms if they didn’t have anywhere else to be.
Although soldiers now ride tanks into battle and have the benefits of technology, the rank and file of armies that fought when powder and shot were the norm led vastly different lives, the sort of lives that few of us can envision.
To show those who live in the country and tourists who come to Oman what medieval life looked like, several rooms in Sohar Fort have been refurbished and furnished in the style that was prevalent in Arabia during the 19th century.
“Built in the 13th century, Sohar’s distinctive square-towered fort allegedly boasts a 10km tunnel intended as an escape route during a siege,” said the Ministry of Tourism. “Easier to find is the small museum in the fort’s tower, which outlines local history, and the tomb of Sayyid Thuwaini Bin Sultan Al Busaid, ruler of Oman from 1856 to 1866. The fort has recently been beautifully restored, with several rooms furnished to give an idea of military life in 19th-century Oman.”
“Sohar Fort is considered one of the most important castles and forts in the North Batinah Governorate due to its outstanding location and the significant role it played over past centuries,” added the ministry. “This fort dates back to the end of the thirteenth century and beginning of the fourteenth . Archaeological excavations carried out at the fort confirmed that it was completed in the fourteenth century.”
Unlike many of the other forts in the region, which are traditionally the colour of the mud bricks that they are made from, a colour that is similar to that of the desert sands, the walls and crenellations of Sohar Fort are completely white.
“Built during the 13th century, Sohar Fort now houses a small museum in its largest tower but an original 10 km long tunnel that served as an escape route in the event of a siege is still intact. Sohar Fort is an eminent historical landmark. The building’s current features were built during the rule of the Portuguese.
“Currently, the fort includes a museum, opened in 1993, that showcases many archaeological and historical aspects of Sohar city as well as other places in the Sultanate of Oman,” the ministry explained. “The museum also highlights the important role played by the copper trade in this city and its relationship with the city of Canton in China, in addition to various artefacts found during archaeological excavations inside the fort and other locations in Oman.”