Oman


Sur Aflaj network reflects Oman’s economic heritage


Photo - ONA

Sur: Besides being known for its marine history, the wilayat of Sur is famous for its picturesque location in the plains and mountains. What's more, the people of Sur, especially in mountainous areas, depend on the waters of the Aflaj.

There are 107 Aflaj in the wilayat as local people are totally dependent on them for agriculture.

Aflaj, or 'water channels', or 'ancient irrigation system', have been an integral part of the Omani society's socio-economic fabric since ancient times.  According to sources, the date of building the Aflaj in the Sultanate goes back to the 10th century BC during the age of Prophet Suleiman bin Dawood, where the Aflaj became the main source of the life of the society, and most governorates are still linked to this system.

The Aflaj are one of the most important landmarks of the Omani  agriculture that reflect the genius of the people and their ability to face challenges in their endeavour to build a flourishing civilisation and enrich their heritage.

The wilayat of Sur is also famous for the Al Jeela Aflaj, which was included in the Unesco's World Heritage List in June 2006. Al Jeela Aflaj is located in a  mountainous area of the same name in the Niyabat of Tiwi. The 161-metre long Aflaj is fed by the water of Wadi Shab in Tiwi, which is the main source of water for the town.

The Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources has maintained the Aflaj with the help of a specialist company. The area is famous for date palms, pomegranates and citrus fruits.

Suleiman bin Hamad Al Sunaidi, director of Sur Municipality told ONA that the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources has been working hard since the beginning of the Renaissance era to take care of the Aflaj as part of the economic, social and tourist heritage. The ministry has also supervised the Aflaj maintenance periodically.  He added that the municipality checks on the Aflaj to ensure its flow.

It also maintained some of the Aflaj that were affected by adverse weather conditions in the past.

Al Sunaidi further said that the Al Jeela Aflaj is one of the most important ones in the wilayat of Sur. It has been registered at the Unesco with four other Aflaj.

The ministry is making all efforts to preserve this famous Aflaj and maintain it with material similar to the original material it was built from, he said.

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