Oman Photowalk Series: Harat Al Yemen in Izki

Post and photo gallery of the old town of Harat Al Yemen in Izki, in Al Dakhiliyah region of Oman

Oman Photowalk Series is a new series of posts I am start at OmanTripper in order to share some of the many many photos I take during my trips around Oman, and which I never get a chance to post. It will also give me a chance to provide some basic information on the places I post on my social media channels instead of having the draft posts languishing on my ‘to do list’ for ages.. today’s post is on the historic old quarters of Izki, which are referred to as Harat Al Yemen (حارة اليمن)!

The ancient neighborhood of Harat Al Yemen (حارة ايمن) (meaning – Yemen Neighborhood) is the old, uninhabited neighborhood of Izki (إزكي), in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate of Oman. The old neighborhood is abandoned with some of the buildings crumbling and in bad shape, unlike the old Harat Al Bilad in Manah, which has been resorted; however, I find Harat Al Yemen to be a much more fascinating place to visit as it still has significant number of buildings that are worth exploring, while maintaining the real charm and feel of an old, ancient neighborhood – untainted by modern construction material or techniques. Of course, this also poses some risks to anyone visiting since the ground is uneven, and the roofs’ of many buildings are either collapse or are susceptible to collapse – so please take great care while exploring (and photographing) Harat Al Yemen!

Harat Al Yemen in Izki is adjacent right next to Izki Castle (قلعة إزكي), which is is also in a bad shape after being destroyed during the Jabal Akhdar War (حرب الجبل الأخضر), which ended in 1959. The old neighborhood is strategically located right at the bend of Wadi Halfain (وادي حلفين) at Izki – giving strong evidence that this was likely the first inhabitants of the area settled area, due to the proximity to fresh water, and that the town eventually spread out from it. Harat Al Yemen is actually adjacent to old neighborhood called Harat Al Nizar (حارة النزار) which I understand to be the old part of Izki that is still inhabited by locals – and that is what is written on the signposts leading to Harat Al Yemen off the highway.

I don’t have any information on the history of Izki’s Harat Al Yemen, except what is written on the signboard outside, as prepared and researched by the local community from Izki that is looking after the neighborhood (I am copying it because I am unable to face-check them against other resources):

“Harat Al Yemen is one of the oldest human settlements in Oman. It is part of Izki, which is referred to in the “Inscriptions of the plaques of Ishtar” of king Ashurbanipal 640 B.C. It has witnessed several battles ,developments, demolitions and redevelopments; the latest was during the beginning of the eighteenth century.”

Visiting Considerations to Harat Al Yemen

As I mentioned earlier, the neighborhood ground is uneven due to lots of debris, and it there are lots of crumbling houses and buildings, some of which can be dangerous to wander around especially if the roofs are not collapsed completely. Any visitor should take extreme care to ensure their safety – if you have any younger kids with you do not let them wander around on their own!

Harat Al Yemen is right in the heart of Izki, and is surrounded with the homes and farms of the locals, so please be considerate during your visit, and show respect to local culture as well as common sense. In terms of clothing, I would recommend having your legs, arms and shoulders covered for women, and for men please avoid wearing shorts if you can (it is obviously not a mosque or anything, but this is just to avoid offending the locals) Besides this, be considerate where you park your car, so as not to block the road or anyone’s home (there is an empty abandoned plot near one of the two main gates), and be careful driving in the old town as there could be small kids running around.

With regards to entering the Harat Al Yemen, it was not clear to me during my visit if there are visiting hours or fees (no reference to either on the entry signpost). Since the place is maintained and cleaned by the local town community, then I expect that the main gates should be open during day-light hours, so you can visit as long as the gates are open, and there are no entry fees.

Harat Al Yemen in Izki Gallery:

How to Reach Harat Al Yemen in Izki:

Izki is about 130 km away from Muscat, and can be reached in just over an hour from Muscat. It is the main town you reach before reaching Nizwa if you’re on the Muscat-Al Dakhiliyah highway. Harat Al Yemen is in the old part of the town, and can be reached by following the brown signposts referring to ‘Harat Al Nizar’.

One reply on “Oman Photowalk Series: Harat Al Yemen in Izki”

sir it is purely local architecture built by locals using locally available technology and material needs protection and research for the future generation

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