Documentation, Heritage Management and Tourism Development Plan: Al-Hamra, Misfat Al-Abriyin
The relatively small community of around 60 dwellings of Misfāt al-‘Abriyīn, clustered on the southern slopes of the Jabal al-Akhdar mountains, is of great value as a prime example of Oman’s vernacular architectural heritage and the inventiveness of its inhabitants in dealing with difficult terrain and a harsh environment. The settlement is still inhabited for the most part, a situation not to be taken for granted in a country that has seen as much economic and demographic change as Oman has over the last 40 years.
About the project
This project proposes a detailed and comprehensive strategy for the preservation and development of the village of Misfāt al-‘Abriyīn in the Wilayat al-Hamra of Oman. The aims were, as agreed with the Sultanate’s Ministry of Tourism, the creation and implementation of a sustainable development strategy, which will ensure the survival of Misfāt’s ancient heritage as well as provide an opportunity to showcase said heritage to stakeholders and visitors.
The continued habitation of Misfāt poses a number of challenges as well as opportunities to the project, the resolution of which is expected to serve as a regional model for the engagement with traditional communities. Two core factors must be taken into account in this effort:
- The local community, which expects a raising of their living standards and infrastructural improvements though governmental support.
- The visitor community, which expects to be given an experience of Omani culture and the traditional lifestyle.
In order to avoid the museumification of Misfāt it is necessary to provide the local community with alternative sources of income which are only indirectly linked to tourism and create a more solid economic base, which can successfully withstand market and visitor fluctuations. Misfāt al-‘Abriyīn, with its oasis and village, should be regarded as an integrated system in which all parts complement one another.