The ancient frankincense port Samharam

Up until the 1st C. AD the transport of frankincense had been the domain of the camel caravans. As a result of improved navigation techniques, the trade routes became increasingly maritime, via the Red Sea.

antiker Weihrauchhafen Samharamm in Dhofar, Oman

At that time Dhofar was part of the Yemeni kingdom of Hadramaut. The King recognized the importance of having a safe storage place and a port for the export of frankincense in the vicinity of where the frankincense was harvested, and in the 2nd C. AD he ordered the building of Samharam, close to today Taqah.

Two and a half meter thick fortified walls, made from carefully cut blocks of stone, surrounded the town. The carefully built wall still stands to a height of a good two meters. Storehouses for the resin were in the south-eastern part of the site, with a row of rectangular pillars in the middle and in the Southwest there was a large, deep well. In the North, a temple, up to five meters high, abutted the outer wall. According to the inscriptions in the stone tablets embedded in the wall, the temple was dedicated to the lunar god Sin.

Samharam is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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