The attentive visitor will encounter fortifications everywhere -- perched on mountain ridges, deep down in the ravines -- some of which are mere remnants, others shining in all their former glory after elaborate restoration.

Fort Jalalai in Muscat OmanWith the decline in power and the introduction of new military strategies and weapons in the 20th C., the forts lost importance, fell into disrepair and became ruins. Construction materials of many of the estimated 800 fortresses was extensively washed away.

Restoring these old buildings is expensive in terms of both time and money and has had to be restricted to the most historical or imposing sites in the country. The results of these efforts, especially with regard to the almost completely destroyed inner décor, should be seen more as replicas of the original fortresses - new buildings imitating the old style.

The most impressive restored forts are those of Nizwa, Rostaq, Barka, Taqah, Al-Hazm, Jabreen and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bahla.

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