Al Mansur Castle of Rustaq

Al Mansur Caste (حصن المنصور), may also be spelled as Al Mansour is a castle in Wilayat Rustaq in the South Batinah region in Oman, very close to the village of Jamma. Al Mansur Castle is believe to be over 200 years old and built by Imam Ahmed Bin Said (the 2nd Imam of Al Said family). It was probably used as a seat of governance in an area close to the political capital of Oman at the time, Rustaq, while providing some shelter and ability to withstand a siege due to the water source, the falaj, that passes through it until the present day.

Al Mansur Caslte has 3 floors, and is actually quite small. It has a large wooden door where the name of Imam Ahmed and the date of construction are engraved. It also has a courtyard with a small mosque adjacent to it (it is not clear whether the mosque is old or a recent addition). The castle used to be in despair and in quite a bad shape until the early 2010s where it has now been resorted and renovated. You can check out this archived article from The Times of Oman to see some old photos of Al Mansur Castle.

Getting to Al Mansur Castle and Entry Conditions:

Al Mansur Castle is easily reached from Muscat by taking the Muscat Expressway to Rustaq, just get off the highway at the turn to Jamma, which is before Rustaq. Note that the Google Map instructions does not show the exit from Muscat Expressway at Jamma (as of the time of writing this article), but you can get off there – just make sure you don’t pass the turn and follow the pin I have placed in the Google Maps link. Please also keep in mind that Al Mansur Castle is still not technically open for visitors, as I understood from the guard, due to the exhibits inside not being finalized yet. The guard was kind enough to let us visit, but it may not be the case for everyone especially if you large crowds show up – this is as of December 2019.

How I found out About Al Mansur Castle:

I have actually been meaning to visit Al Mansur castle for couple of years now, and I thought of sharing the reason of how I got to know of it. I received an email back in 2017 from one of the blog readers who shared a photo of an old castle in Batinah from a book called Strongholds of Heritage: Forts and Castles of Oman” by Dr. Patricia Groves asking if I could identify it. This is the photo below:

The Unknown Castle, for now (Photo received from Thomas by email, presumed to be capture from the book: “Strongholds of Heritage: Forts and Castles of Oman” by Dr. Patricia Groves)

This lead me to a mini quest where I showed the photo to a few people I know from the area, and a few indicated that it could be in a village called Jamma, which I had never heard of before. Therefore, I decided to visit Jamma which turned out to be fantastic with plenty of farms and finding some cool ruins of a castle or a fort (as you could guess from the article I wrote on it). However, the ruins did not really match the ones from the photo – especially since there was no tower as shown here – so no success!

Another lead I had was from another friend who is from Batinah. He mentioned to me that it looks like a castle called ‘Al Mansur’, this lead me to finding this YouTube video where the tower somehow matched the photo from the email, but it is obviously completely resorted compared to it’s dilapidated state in the photo.. Either way, I kept this in my mind until I get a chance to visit Al Mansur Castle, which I finally did in December 2019 and confirmed that it is indeed the castle from the photo! So, I like to thank Thomas for sending the email that started all this.

2 replies on “Al Mansur Castle of Rustaq”

Ali, delighted to see that the mystery is solved, I will try to visit the castle soon. Part of me preferred the unrestored version, but I am glad to see that they have managed to save/reinstate the ornate plaster work. Thanks for persevering!

Indeed, sometimes the restoration work makes castles/forts look too modern, but alas – if that is what’s require to keep them from crumbling I am happy!

Thanks for the inspiration, hope you enjoy your visit there!


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