The Unesco World Heritage sites of Bat and Al Khutm will soon get tourism facilities that will boost Oman’s profile as a country rich in millennia-old archaeological wonders.
The Ministry of Heritage and Culture signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Al Tasnim Group on Monday to build a visitor centre at the Bat site and develop the surrounding of the Khutm Archaeological Tower. The three archaeological sites of Bat, Al Khutm and Al Ayn together form the Unesco World Heritage site.
Located east of Ibri in Dhahirah, the protohistoric archaeological complex of Bat, Al Khutm and Al Ayn represents one of the most complete and well preserved ensembles of settlements and necropolises from the third millennium BC in the world.
The MoU was signed by H E Salim bin Muhammad al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary for Heritage Affairs, and Devaki Khimji, executive director, Al Tasnim Group.
In a statement H E Mahrouqi said, “Investment by the private sector in the heritage sector is a novel way to adopt and support projects that concern the wider society, support tourism and provide local communities with a variety of work opportunities, as well as help develop the cultural dimension.”
He said that the project, which costs around RO700,000-RO800,000, provides a model for private companies to carry out similar initiatives.
Devaki stated that it was a matter of pride for the company to contribute to building and developing the society and be an effective partner of the ministry in supporting sustainable economic development.
The Ministry of Heritage and Culture is also developing a new management plan which will focus on three points, namely: to protect the site from destruction by regulating access to and development of specific parts of the site; to promote understanding of the meaning of each site and monument through scientific study of archaeological remains and the contemporary landscape.
It will also help promote the dissemination of these studies through the development of an interpretive programme oriented for local and international tourism, including the creation of one or more interpretation centre at the site.