Hi all fellow bloggers! It’s good to be back and I am excited to share with you my very recent jaunt with friends to a must-see beautiful high place in Oman , THE JEBEL SHAMS touted as the The Grand Canyon of the Arabias. And talking about Jebel in Oman , there’s got to be plenty of them but only one stands out …This blog zeroes in on a top tourist attraction called Jebel Shams or Sun Mountain.
A mountain or a hill would refer to Jebel in arabic.The one other famous and spectacular Jebel lying in close proximity is Jebel Akhdar meaning the Green Mountain but is overshadowed by Jebel Shams in magnificence being the highest point in Oman and the whole of Eastern Arabia both of which lie in the strategic Al Hajar Mountain range in Northeast Oman. Jebel Shams has an Elevation of 9,934′ (3,028 m). For the hikers coming from downtown Muscat and other places down,the air offers a unique experience.It is a chilly mountain air that goes down to single digits on the thermo scale or at most to as low as two below zero.
TheStory of Jebel Shams
As the author have gathered, the Jebel Shams has a long history dating back 250,000,000 years ago. The Jebel came into existence with the formation of a sea called tethys which was formed when Oman and Iraq separated.Tethys sea is a former tropical body of salt water that separated the supercontinent of Laurasia in the north from Gondwana in the south during much of the Mesozoic era (251 to 65.5 million years ago).. In Oman sediments were deposited in relatively shallow waters, which later formed the very hard grey limestone found on the jebel.The sea was warm and rich in life, and many fossils can be found throughout the region. As tethys was crated, submarine volcanoes were formed and the magma from these has turned some of the limestone to marble. When the tethys sea began to disappear about 90,000,000 years ago, the ocean floor was pushed over the land, forming the mountain. After the formation of the mountain, water erosion has shaped the “Grand Canyon” with a vertical drop of 2,100 meters from the summit to the base.
Today the jebel is home to at least a dozen small villages, where the main occupations are animal husbandry, farming, and rug weaving.
Jebel Shams also has some of the oldest Juniper trees or al’alaan in the world, some specimens are hundreds of years old and with trunks 2 – 3 meters wide. Another common tree on the mountain is the thorn of Christ tree or sidr, the fruit “nubuq” are eaten by the locals, and taste similar to apples.
This scenic area, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Arabia, once supported dozens of remote mountain settlements. In the early 2000s however, the Oman Government moved all the inhabitants to less remote sites with easier access to modern services, leaving the villages to ghosts and foreign trampers.
The rim of Al Nakhur summit – strange-looking black thing is sitting atop a boulder. Very surreal-looking. It raises the question whether it is a head of something ,like the head of an animal, a sheep perhaps. We can see eyes, and some facial features. And that’s the beauty of Arabia’s Grand Canyon.
The drive into the heart of the beast! A narrow and imposing opening to the grand canyon is a rather suitable beginning to what becomes a rough graded track. After passing thru the village of Al Hajir, the walls of the canyon close in and soar above you…
The way to the top!