Al Hamra is mentioned in my guide book as a must see. Yet I have passed several time through and never understood why. To me, it was nothing more than a gas stop on my way to Jabal Akhdar. It’s only after searching for more clues on Google Earth that I realized what I was missing. Like most towns in this part of Oman, it has an old palm garden. That I had seen. But inside the large array of trees, lies an old abandoned city, you can only reach after navigating through a small labyrinth of streets with no help of any signage.
After a while, once getting lost along a few wrong turns, I finally end up in a sort of dead end where I am forced to park. This is the beginning of the old Al Hamra, the beautiful Al Hamra. Narrow streets of dirt, with crumbling mud and stone buildings. The place could use a good cleaning. Just to make it more attractive for the sake of tourism, or better yet, for the sake of cultural heritage, as its potential for both is incredible. I imagine what it could be if saved and skilfully renovated as a prime example of what ancient Oman was like. Instead it is left for cats to roam, till it crumbles completely. It looks to me as if an entire population had left the premise at once, to embark on the new promising ride of modernism, and the comfort it marketed. Maybe one day soon, they will realize their mistake and return to those architectural treasures.