Fanja is considered the gateway of Dakhiliyah region as it is the first city that welcomes the visitors leaving Muscat. In fact, it is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Dakhiliyah region. Fanja, is blessed with a very rich cultural heritage and spectacular natural landscapes. Its civilization, which dates back to 5,000 years, still exists along with modern development; it is a city with a hidden beauty that is yet to be explored. It offers a unique mixture of old and new landmarks that represent the real image of the city. It comprises many ancient buildings like towers, castles and old houses built of mud on the mountains overlooking the wadi.
Some of the traditional landmarks are Al Sharqi Castle and Al Bomah Castle as well as two other towers Al Khatum Castle and Kaid Castle which were rebuilt after the dawn of the Renaissance era in the Sultanate.
The cannons overlooking Fanja have protected the town from rival incursions, won many battles and witnessed many moments that altered the course of history of the Sultanate.Today, they stand as hefty curios that intrigue tourists, domestic as well as international, who visit this unsung village that has the potential of becoming a great heritage site. Legend has it that the cannons had fired plenty of shots against people who tried to invade the territory and was a symbol of supremacy. Soldiers had closely monitored the rival movements from the top of the watch towers on the rugged mountains.
The city also includes some traditional mosques, some of which are Al Khatum, Natael and Al Jame’a. Like any other Omani village, Fanja has many aflaj that are used as the source of water for farms. Some of these aflaj are Al Rasah, Al Sharjah and Tawi Mansoor. However, there are two aflaj — East and West Hamam aflaj — with hot water which is believed to have properties that can cure skin diseases.
What distinguishes the place is that it has a unique traditional souq at the doorway of the city. Many people from Fanja and the neighboring villages come to the souq either as buyers or sellers who exhibit their products. The souq showcases a wonderful collection of handicrafts that are locally made. The pottery items, usually used as decorative pieces, are well-made and beautifully decorated with different shapes and colors. There are also coffee pots, leather goods, antiques and household products as well as dried fish displayed in the yard of the souq.
The wadi is beautiful as it is surrounded by date palms and other trees. The peaceful and tranquil place offers ambiance for a great day out. In the past Fanja was once a business hub and the wealthy people of Fanja had expanded their trade ties to Zanzibar, India and Africa.
Fanja is full of surprises! The blend of palm trees, mountains and wadi water makes an incredible view!
The best part about Fanja is that it is very close to Muscat and can be explored in half a day. It is about 50 kms from Muscat and would take you about 40 odd minutes. Take the Al Sahawah roundabout heading towards Nizwa. Stay on the road till you see the Fanja exit.
Have a safe journey and do share your experiences.