Fifth phase of restoration work at World Heritage site of Qalhat over

Muscat - 

The fifth phase of restoration work at the ancient city of Qalhat, that was inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in 2018, has been completed.

According to the Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MHC), it completed the restoration in cooperation with the World Monuments Fund (WMF) as part of the Qalhat Development Project which was launched in January 2013.

Since 2017, WMF and MHC are concentrating on stabilisation and conservation of the Great Friday Mosque at the site, an impressive structure with imposing architecture overlooking the sea and unique, colourful, and varied decoration.

Since October 2013, the campaigns have focused on documentation of site conditions, analysis of materials, technical training in the field and, to date, preservation of six buildings previously excavated, including a funerary and a platform mosque, a hammam, a cistern, twin-houses, and a storehouse.

According to WMF, the ancient city of Qalhat, located on the Omani coast, was one of the most important Islamic commercial hubs for Indian Ocean trade from its founding in the 11th century until the arrival of the Portuguese in the early 16th century.

Now an archaeological site but for one remaining structure - the mausoleum of Bibi Maryam (c.1280–1315) - Qalhat was the second capital city of the Kingdom of Hormuz.

It was significant enough to be mentioned by Marco Polo and visited by Ibn Battutah, two of the greatest explorers in history.

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