The eventful history of the port city dates back to the 10th century, during its career it was both a feared pirate’s nest and a successful trading and frankincense port. Today, a horse sculpture at the entrance to the town and the name Mirbat (“horse market”) recall the precious Arabian horses that were once traded here.
Traces of the once flourishing frankincense trade can also be found in abundance in the small town. Magnificent two-story merchant houses in the center of town, some of which were defended by their own towers, still bear witness to the greatness of that time as a trading city. There is a nice atmosphere in the small harbor where, among other things, fresh fish is sold that you can try on the Salalah4Tourist BBQ tour on Mirbat beach. In addition, you should not miss to stroll along the harbor promenade and admire the traditional Omani fishing boats, the so-called Dhaus.
In the fortress of Mirbat there is a museum which focuses on Omani culture, clothing and music. It is also possible to climb to the roof of the fortress, from where you have a wonderful view over the whole city. In July 1972, Mirbat made history once again when Dhofar insurgents attacked the city with 250 men and fought fierce battles with the Sultan’s troops. The fort, manned at the time by only 9 men, was able to repel the rebels and eventually received reinforcements from the air force. The rebels suffered a defeat from which they never recovered and three years later the Dhofar War was declared over. Thus, Mirbat Castle went down in history as the world’s last contested fortress.
A little outside Mirbat is the tomb of the holy Shaikh Muhammad bin Ali al-Alawi. According to an inscription inside the mausoleum, he is descended from the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the sanctuary, however. There are other graves in the vicinity of the mausoleum, but these are only marked by gravestones that show the typical design elements of Sunni Islam.
The best way to discover the beautiful city of Mirbat and its surroundings is with the Full Day East Salalah Tour offered by Salalah4Tourist. In case of any questions regarding this or other tours please feel free to contact us, we are happy to assist and create unforgettable moments with you.