Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The trip to a falaj (stream) and Bat, Oman

A few Saturdays ago, we visited a UNESCO heritage site called Bat (بات) here in Oman. The same day, we also visited a falaj (a stream used for irrigation purposes) in a village called Zahir al-Fawaris (قرية ظاهر الفوارس). Oman is crazy hot, as you know, so it's quite refreshing to come across a small, even half empty, body of water and some greenery. As tends to happen to me wherever I go, I fell in the water. *Insert heart icon here.* But I didn't get hurt, so no worries. The water's source is the mountain nearby, and where it meets the mountain is where it's the cleanest, so people use that water as drinking water. I filled up a couple of water bottles there. After a little bit, my tummy wasn't feeling good so I'm not sure that was a good idea, BUT I didn't get sick or anything. It was prolly in my head because I was fearing it might happen, hah.

Then we went to a family farm (pictures of that another time - and, yes, I remember that I still owe y'all pictures of my host family's farm). We had a wonderful huge meal at the family whose farm we visited (God reward them for their kindness and hospitality, aameen!) and afterwards, we went to Bat. I didn't take many pics in Bat because it's pretty much the same view all throughout, but a couple of things about Bat: It's a necropolis - that is, a huge and ancient, historical cemetery. The way these tombs are built reveals much about the funeral practices (and the evolution of those practices) of the people who lived in the Omani peninsula during the Bronze Age (3000 BCE). Bat is the most complete known site of the time period. In 1988, it became the second site to be included in the World Heritage list.

I'm going to paste from about the different tombs from different time periods in Bat:
"In the southern part, the site is a collection of graves built on the lines of those found in Um AnNar, while in the northern part, the graves look like beehives and date back to the third millennium BC. The architecture is similar to the tombs built in the Hafit period. Another cemetery containing 100 tombs built of stone was also discovered, where the evolution from the beehive style to cemeteries built during Um AnNar period is apparent. While the beehive cemetery contained between two to five tombs, Um AnNar cemeteries were mass graves. A similar cemetery of this style was discovered containing 30 burial chambers. The historic significance of the Bat site is that it is located at the crossroads of an ancient trade route. Caravans loaded with goods heading to other nearby destinations passed through Bat. Included with the Bat settlement in the World Heritage List are two other sites: Al Khutum “Al Wahrah” and Wadi Al Ayn Tombs."
Feel free to google it up for more information and for better pictures and all; here's a good start - a video. It can give you goose bumps, provided you visit in a non-hot time of the day. We were there between, I don't know, say, 2:30pm and 4? The sun is cruel that time of the day, so.

Below, I'll first show photos of the falaj and then of Bat.

The Falaj


It was a scary, scary walk through this little thing here.

Told you there's hardly any water here. But when it rains, it gets so much that, as our director was telling us, lots of people are drowned here.

Right in front of you as you walk.

Our tour guide. He's not facing the camera.

The gang.


The gang marrah ukhrah (again)

And at one small point, the water suddenly becomes green.

Right there - green water.

Since so many people die in this falaj through drowning, this above picture is of a musallah (prayer area) where the funeral prayer takes place.

Photos of Bat

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