Harat al-Bilad, Manah: A Virtual Exhibition
About the project
The Harat al-Bilad, Manah Virtual Exhibition showcases the heritage of the historic oasis settlement (harah) of al-Bilad in Manah oasis, central Oman. The settlement is a fine example of fortified town on the desert borderlands, pierced by four gateways, surrounded by a stone and mudbrick wall, and with two formidable watchtowers. Along its three main streets feature mosques, meeting halls, shop and madrasahs. In the Islamic period Manah remained a bastion of Ibadi scholarship, even when the physical extent of the Ibadi state had shrunk to its smallest.
However, the most important contribution of that period was the school of craftsmen based in the settlement. The four mosques of al-Bilad contain exquisitely decorated prayer niches (mihrab) from the early 16th century, executed by a local craftsman who was invited to decorate prayer niches all over the ad-Dakhiliyah and ash-Sharqiyyah regions of Oman.
The project aims, on the one hand, to raise awareness on the importance of Harat al-Bilad in Oman’s history as well as in the urban, architectural and artistic development of its Interior region, and, on the other hand, to deliver a user-friendly, freely accessible, research-informed digital resource that will allow to meaningfully experience the settlement’s heritage.