Tuesday, October 03
02:19 AM

Tender for construction of visitor centre at Qalhat soon


Muscat – The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT) will soon announce a tender for the construction of a visitor centre at the Unesco World Heritage site of the Ancient City of Qalhat. The necessary consultancy works, including design and site preparation, have been completed.

Sultan bin Saif al Bakri, Advisor for Heritage in MHT, informed that the ministry is committed to preserving, managing and maximising the potential of Qalhat.

“The ongoing efforts align with the city’s historical and archaeological significance, ensuring its sustainability for future generations,” Bakri said, adding that the current restoration and development works in Qalhat are guided by a comprehensive management plan devised by MHT.

In an interview with ONA, the advisor said several key structures within the World Heritage-listed site are currently undergoing restoration. These include the main external city wall, the mosque, baths, water storage facilities, and construction of dedicated tourist paths, platforms and information panels. “All development initiatives will be executed in a manner that preserves the authenticity and integrity of the site.”

To enhance visitor experience and facilitate efficient management, plans are underway to establish a visitor centre in a prominent location overlooking the city. The centre will feature a museum and administrative offices dedicated to overseeing the operations of Qalhat.

Bakri informed that in 2013, the ministry contracted the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a nonprofit organisation based in Washington, DC, USA, to restore and preserve the most significant monuments discovered in Qalhat.

“These restoration efforts continued until 2016. Presently, a Tunisian team is completing the restoration of the mosque, which is situated near the sea and has underground rooms with two ablution areas – one presumed to be for the ruler and the other for the public.”

The city also features a port, a school, and governor’s and merchants’ residences. The discoveries made so far constitute approximately five per cent of the city’s total area spanning 35 hectares.

Qalhat flourished in the 11th to 16th century under the Princes of Hormuz, who coordinated vital exports of horses, dates, incense and pearls. Following Portuguese attacks, the Ancient City of Qalhat was abandoned in the 16th century and has since been preserved as an archaeological site.

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