Salalah Trip...Part 6

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 by Stained in Labels: ,

Sunday, 3rd of August

First part of Day 5

1) We went to the Baleed archaeological park in Salalah in the morning. Here is a map of the whole park. All the pictures taken during the park were taken by my brother and not me.
2) There were several webs inside the boats that were being exhibited near the park entrance. The webs were so perfect that they seemed fake (like they have in those Hindi films) but they weren't.
3) The archaeological park also contained a bird sanctuary (that we didn't visit) but we did see these four geese waddling around. My Niece kept trying to run behind them. She thought they were ducks.
4) One of the exhibited boats. This one had some Arabic verses engraved on its back side (not pictured). I don't know if it was a real boat or just a reconstruction.
5) A view of the Baleed Citadel from the Northwest City Wall Bastion. People were walking all over the citadel which kinda killed the fact that this is a UNICEF protected area.

Quoted from the Sign board for 'The Northwest City Wall Bastion' :
"Here large cut blocks form the foundation for an old city wall and its Northwest bastion, all that remains of an older city wall. Due to its massive construction, this bastion may have served to deflect summer monsoon waters coming from the distant Dhofar hills"
6) They had placed a plate of what looks like rice for the weaver birds (I think) living in the tree nearby...
7) A view of the Al Baleed Citdel South Gate and the large Masjid.
8) The Main Prayer Hall of the Masjid and the Courtyard in the middle of it.

Quoted from the sign board :
"The Main Prayer Hall was the largest area of the Mosque. The roof was supported by over 144 columns. During its last phase, the Prayer Hall was reduced to the area adjacent to the Mihrab."
"The Courtyard measures 14m*12m and was the main source of light and ventilation for the Prayer Hall"
9) A panorama shot of the Masjid (by combining 4 pictures) with the Minaret on the right, the Courtyard in the middle and the Ablution area on the left.

Quoted from the other various sign boards :
"This is the location of the Minaret for the Original Grand Mosque. The Minaret is the tower from which the Muezzin intones the call to prayer five times each day. The Minaret of the Grand Mosque would have been at least 5 metres highs."
"The Ablution Area is where worshippers would wash themselves before entering the Mosques for prayers. The Ablution Area here consists of four chambers with wash basins supplied by a well at the south end."
"The Mihrab is a semi-circular niche in the wall which indicates the direction of the Mecca and the direction to face for prayer. The Minbar, directly to the right of the Mihrab, is where the Imam stands to give his address as part of the Friday midday prayers."
10) A view of a Smaller Masjid.

Quoted from the sign board :
"This small mosque excavated in 2001 is almost square, each side no longer that 10 metres. Like other mosques of this size it did not have a Minaret. The round monolithic pillars that once supported the flat roof can still be seen where they fell. As in all such buildings excavated to date, this mosque's entrance were found to have been sealed during its last phase, suggestive of progressive decline."
11) A Headstone lies near the Cemetery Mosque.
12) A view of the Cemetery Mosque

Quoted from the sign board :
"This unique cemetery mosque is located within the city centre. The typical mosque contains six monolithic pillars that would have supported a flat roof. Notice the ablutions area to the east of the mosque which contains two rectangular stone lined well and many monolithic plaster lined wash basins. On the north and west sides of the mosque is a 1.5 hectare cemetery defined by a low wall, which contains more than 1000 graves. Notice the different headstones styles within the cemetery"
13) One unmarked pillar lying around on a mound of sand and rock. For this short trip around a part of the park cost us AED 10 per person for a small golf kart type 8 seater with a driver who would stop at the various sites allowing us to look around. After this we headed off to the small museum in the park where photography was not allowed so no pictures of it. Also there is a fee on entering the park but I don't know how much it was and there is also a boat ride that costs AED20 per person.
14) After heading out from the park we headed off to the Salalah airport where we went to a restaurant called Woodlands where we ate some good Indian food but the service was terrible and they charged three different taxes on the food (read the fine print at the end) amounting to about 18%. This is a picture of the Salalah Clock Tower roundabout.
15) After lunch we headed off into the mountains on our way to the Mausoleum of a Nabi Ayub. We soon realised we were not the only ones headed there and we were crawling at a much slower pace than required due to the inability of some of the people to handle the fog and the overtaking skills required.
16) Random tree in fog shot.
17) Another random tree in fog shot...
18) A dirt road leading off the main road. This one was not closed so I supposed it must be safe to use but we didn't bother even thinking about any off-roading in the mountains...
19) This municipal worker was walking next to the road collecting the trash. There was a heavy drizzle in the air and it was quite cold (20'C) so I felt sorry for him though I'm guessing he must be used to it. He was the second and the last municipal worker (apart from the Heritage village) I saw in the Salalah. No wonder the place is going to the garbage.
20) Whenever I look at this picture, I wonder what is hanging from the tree...
21) As the others headed off (on foot) to the Mausoleum of an Nabi Ayub entrance, me and my sister lingered around watching these birds on the nearby tree.
22) Making sure none of the adults were around, I slowly moved closer to the birds to get a better shot. It was a tricky situation (with the wet grass/mud) where I was trying not to slip and to not make any noise. Slowly I made my way towards the birds. As I got closer, apart from this yellow bird the rest flew away from me. So not wanting to scare this one, I stopped and clicked a dozen photos of it. Of the lot, this came out the best...
23) Water droplets on the tree.
24) A view of the Masjid near Mausoleum of an Nabi Ayub.

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Salalah Trip...Part 5

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2008 by Stained in Labels: ,

Saturday, 2nd of August

Second part of Day 4

1) After getting off the rock/mountain near Khawr Rawri we headed back into the town of Taqah where we spotted a graveyard. According to the book my sister had, Taqah castle was next to the graveyard. On looking around we spotted it and made our way towards it. I didn't count the number of steps that were there as I didn't care. My Niece was on my back and all I cared about was getting up there without dropping her. I couldn't do it in one go; had to take a short break in between (she's quite heavy).
2) There was this huge crow on the tree next to the Taqah Castle. The view was very cool though I didn't have the camera (my brother was still the photographer) so I can't show you any pictures of the view cause unfortunately there aren't any. On walking behind the Castle we realised there was a road coming up to the Castle and my effort to carry my Niece was a total waste of energy. Aaaaahhhh!!!!!
3) We had spotted another fort at sea level next to the Castle. This fort ended up being the REAL Taqah Castle and the one on the top of the hill being an extension of this (like a watch tower or something). We didn't go in because we all were tired and hungry.
4) Finding a restaurant that was open in Taqah was close to impossible. In the end we found this one that had only one dish on its menu for lunch. That was Chicken Biryani which was basically full grilled chicken placed on a plate full of biryani rice served with some chutney (liquid pickle like thing). It was in fact quite tasty.
5) We stopped over to this huge and, by the looks of it, a new mosque for our usual toilet/prayer process, though as usual I didn't go (too dirty for me even in this new mosque). I did see a few other mosques with similar dome designs.
6) On our way to Town of Mirbat.
7) A random tree shot near the supposed anti Gravity road (see next picture).
8) According to a 2 year old map there is supposedly an anti gravity road where a car will roll upwards in neutral instead of going down. According to the newer map that we got later it's just an optical illusion. Many people still do come here thinking it's an anti gravity road but it takes a little bit of logic to figure it out. My brother being the smartest of us siblings figured it out and explained it to us. The logic is basically when you stand on a path that has a downward slope of 50 degrees and look down the path that has a downward slope of 10 degrees, it may seem that the path with the 10 degree slope is not going down but up due to the angle of view from where we stand.
9) A view of the road leading off the anti gravity road 10) Camels and Cows have entry to any place in Salalah. Here you can see Camels strolling around in a graveyard. With regard to this picture (with some post processing), I tried to give it a little different look compared to my other pictures. I hope it looks nice...
11) The Bin Ali mausoleum. This is the only mausoleum I entered. Check out the headstones you can see in this picture. Some of them have cool designs on them.
12) I wonder what the tiny rope around the camel's body signifies. Anyway another shot of the camel in the graveyard.
13) A ruin by the looks of it though it might not be as old as it may seem. This is on entering Mirbad through the small internal streets.
14) If you are superstitious about the whole concept of a black cat cutting your path then you should not visit Salalah. There are just too many of them all over the place. I've got one at home so any number of black cats don't bother me.
This cat has a different structure than the ones I've seen here. Notice the paws, they are broader.
15) This is near the Mirbat fishing area. Notice the rocks here in contrast to the brown sand in the background. Near the coastline also you'll see your surroundings change from a wonderful beach to rocks to sand dunes to cliffs in just a few kilometres.
16) The breakwater at Mirbat.
17) Waves crashing into the breakwater. If you stand on top of the breakwater, you'll be sprayed with constant sea water as it crashes against the rocks but beware of the slippery rocks.
18) Some crabs were enjoying getting wet on the rocks..
19) You'll see small children walking around bare feet in Mirbat. Reminded me of the old Satwa that used to exist in Dubai. These kids were happy to pose for my Brother.
20) The last time my sister had come, Mirbat Castle was a tourist destination that you could enter and take pictures of the old interior design and furnishing. Now it is just a ruin. It seems like a part of it just collapsed and now a bunch of wooden sticks were holding the rest from falling apart also.
21) An old cannon lying next to the Castle...
22) I used my polariser with this shot to give the water this silky look to it and did some post processing to give the whole picture a more contrasted different look.
23) The sky was grey and so was the water. These three boats were just floating there that completed a perfect grey typical boat shot.
24) A view of the winding road up the mountains from the main Mirbat-Salalah road.
25) Usually near the coast, the clouds are not as thick and sometimes you can see the sun peeping through them.
26) This is Ayn Razat springs and Cave. The Cave was boring as usual though the water was interesting. Basically unlike the other places, the water here was very clean and clear that enabled us to see what was beneath
27) The reflections created were also pretty nice and made some good shots.
28) An almost perfect reflection shot...just needed more light to expose the green more properly.
Sorry for the long delays between posts but I'm being a little lazy....

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