This may sound spooky and scary- but on the contrary, it felt like a sanctuary of peace.
Al Houb village lies hidden in a mountain valley, only to be seen from the highest top of 3000m in Jebel Shams.
Imagine mountain tops surrounding you, feeling like you are sheltered within the arms of the mountains, while the sky of a thousand sparkling stars invites you to look up at night.
There is no sound of traffic, of people, of a buzzing city because it is all far and remote, the only sound comes from the crackling of grasshoppers, that deepen the feeling of nightfall.
The locals have left it, seeking houses closer to the main road, which allows them to easily reach all they need for their livelihood. On the weekends they come and uphold their former houses. The only two people that live here are two workers that take care of the farm animals, sheep and goats, and uphold the garden.
It was time for campfire, cooking in the stone-kitchen and playing uno.
Having dinner all together and experiencing the Omani life. Before Sultan Qaboos and his great work that he did for the country, the life in Oman was quite poor and hard. Where there is water, there is life and this is what the Omani’s thought when they settled here, because a few meters down, there is a fresh water spring.
This is where we slept, a typical Omani “bedroom”. After sleeping this is transformed into a meeting room. They put the blankets in the holes in the walls, specially made for storage.
This village also has it’s own mosque, build by the locals. Islam is the main religion of Oman and mosque’s can be found everywhere in this country.
An Englishman called John Ovington that visited Muscat in 1663 wrote: “The Arabians are very courteous in their department and extreme civil to all strangers; they offer neither violence or affront in any way and tho they are very tenacious of their own principles, and admirers of their own religion, yet do they never impose it upon anyone. In fine these are people who are naturally temperate and just and endued with excellent qualities.” I agree with you John Ovington, 357 years later, it is still true. You described Oman so precise.
Mazin al Abri is the reason we could stay in this remote place. It is not open to tourists but open to friends. He is one of the people that lived in the villages in the mountains, his home is parallel to this village, just on the other side of the mountain. An extremely skilled mountaineer and adventurer. You can go on tour with him and other locals, just check out the instagram page Escapade.Oman
Frankincense is the essence of Oman and a symbol of life for it’s people. It is burned in offices, added to perfume and oils and use for medicinal purposes to ease aches and pains. It is deeply woven into the traditional culture of the Sultanate.
Some more pictures, to take you with me! Thank you for reading and hope to see you soon again!