Sohar Castle

Sohar Castle, lies in the coastal city of the same name, in the Al Batinah North Governorate in Oman.

The first fortification at this site was probably built by Baha Al Din Ayaz, Prince of Hormuz, during his reign from 1294 until 1312. In 1507 this fort was taken by the Portuguese, after which they made the city tributary. After several rebellions they retook the fort in 1516 and again in 1521. Between 1559 and 1561 they rebuilt the fort into a square inner castle with bastions and surrounded by defensive walls.

In 1616 the Portuguese again had to lay siege to Sohar Castle to retake it. After that they garrisoned it with a captain and 40 soldiers and armed it with 6 small pieces of artillery. In 1621, due to financial difficulties, the Portuguese captain Joao de Souza Pinel had the castle rebuilt. He built a new and stronger keep and reduced the area enclosed by the defensive wall from 150 to 70 meters. It is this castle that we see today.

In 1622 the Portuguese were driven out of Sohar by the Persians. They returned shortly afterwards. In 1643 the Portuguese reign over Sohar finally ended when the garrison surrendered to Imam Nasi bin Murshid al-Ya'arubi, after which they were all put to the sword.

Later Sohar Castle became the residence of the local 'wali' (governor). Between 1985 and 1993 the castle was restored. At that time the complete castle was whitewashed.

At present Sohar Castle is closed for visits. I was told it had already been closed for years due to restorations and that it was not known when it would reopen again. Too bad, it looks great and I was particularly interested in the interior of the keep.


Gallery

Sohar Castle

Sohar Castle, lies in the coastal city of the same name, in the Al Batinah North Governorate in Oman.

The first fortification at this site was probably built by Baha Al Din Ayaz, Prince of Hormuz, during his reign from 1294 until 1312. In 1507 this fort was taken by the Portuguese, after which they made the city tributary. After several rebellions they retook the fort in 1516 and again in 1521. Between 1559 and 1561 they rebuilt the fort into a square inner castle with bastions and surrounded by defensive walls.

In 1616 the Portuguese again had to lay siege to Sohar Castle to retake it. After that they garrisoned it with a captain and 40 soldiers and armed it with 6 small pieces of artillery. In 1621, due to financial difficulties, the Portuguese captain Joao de Souza Pinel had the castle rebuilt. He built a new and stronger keep and reduced the area enclosed by the defensive wall from 150 to 70 meters. It is this castle that we see today.

In 1622 the Portuguese were driven out of Sohar by the Persians. They returned shortly afterwards. In 1643 the Portuguese reign over Sohar finally ended when the garrison surrendered to Imam Nasi bin Murshid al-Ya'arubi, after which they were all put to the sword.

Later Sohar Castle became the residence of the local 'wali' (governor). Between 1985 and 1993 the castle was restored. At that time the complete castle was whitewashed.

At present Sohar Castle is closed for visits. I was told it had already been closed for years due to restorations and that it was not known when it would reopen again. Too bad, it looks great and I was particularly interested in the interior of the keep.


Gallery