Al Sulaif Ibri Reviews
Al Sulaif - getting close to adobe brick ruins Feb 27, 2010
Ibri is a rather remote village in Oman and offers few attractions, though we were charmed by Al Sulaif. This substantial walled village lies just south of town and stepping into its crumbling ruins is like stepping back into time. Although abandoned fairly recently (circa 1985), Al Sulaif strikes one as truly ancient with its seemingly endless examples of adobe brick structures. You will find a souk, a mosque and countless households and archways within its walls ringed by impressive watch towers.
We had little information about Al Sulaif, but discovered convenient, free parking right at the main entrance. I am hesitant to set your expectations, but even better was a free tour guide! We were greeted by Afeef as we entered, a local in traditional dress who showed us an identification card indicating he was connected to some Omani office of tourism. Seems odd that the government would pay someone to conduct free tours at such an out-of-the-way destination, but Afeef nimbly led us to highlights of Al Sulaif. There are quite a few raised reliefs here, Arabic inscriptions and hands, which we would have completely missed without Afeef to guide our gaze.
Afeef knew elements of quite a few languages, but his English was limited No problem for this thinking man, however. He had pre-programmed text messages into his cell phone and would call one up to present us with the English translation whenever we came upon a raised inscription. He led us up to the second floor of buildings and deep into various nooks and crannies where an interesting tidbit of the village’s history lay. It was a wonderful unexpected bonus and Afeef’s enthusiasm was contagious.
The coolest aspect of Al Sulaif is the opportunity it offers to closely inspect a typical village in this culture. We didn’t dare enter buildings in the other abandon villages we came across since it was apparent some were still occupied. With Afeef guiding us, however, there was no hesitation to inspect things up close and personal. There is plenty to see within the walls of Al Sulaif and I’m sure you will feel rewarded even if you aren’t blessed with the complimentary guide service we enjoyed!
Part of the Oman? Oh, Man! travel blog
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