Located in Khasab, the capital of Oman’s northern Governorate of Musandam — some six hours’ drive from the capital, Muscat — Khasab Fort was built to protect the coastal settlement from raiders who sometimes tried to steal goods from ships that passed by there.
Today, it is a popular tourist attraction for those who visit Oman’s northern outpost, access to which is provided both by land, sea and air. Ferry services connect Oman's mainland to Musandam, while direct flights are available between Muscat and Khasab.
Road travel through the United Arab Emirates, which separates the two sections of Oman, is also possible. “Originally built by the Portuguese in the 17th century around a pre-existing circular tower, this well-preserved fort is home to one of the best ethnographic museums in Oman and the Bait Al Qufl, the house of locks, in the courtyard was built by an Omani master craftsman,” says Oman’s Ministry of Tourism.
“Khasab Castle is located in Khasab, Musandam,” the Ministry added. “The current form of the castle were built by the Portuguese in the 17th century on top of an ancient fort built in ancient times. The castle was initially renovated in the year 1990 and then again developed to its current state in the year 2007.”
That the fort was built there underlines the importance the Strait of Hormuz had, even during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Governorate of Musandam till day ensures that Oman is afforded partial control over the Strait of Hormuz, through which more than 20 per cent of all of the world crude oil supplies pass through every day.
“Khasab Castle was used by the Omanis as a military base to combat the Portuguese and later simultaneously as a residence of the Wali of Khasab and as a city prison,” added the Ministry of Tourism. “The current castle features a cylindrical central tower and a square-shaped outer wall.
“The current castle compound features an exhibition on the history of Musandam, a model of a traditional elevated summer house, a model of a date storage vat (Bait Al Quful), an old documents exhibition, and many rooms displaying jewellery, clothes, weapons, kitchen equipment, wedding decorations, and a Quran learning school,” the Ministry said.