Oman


Tiwi tussle over saving cemetery



Muscat: Bulldozers are working overtime to demolish the 400-year-old cemetery in Tiwi area in the wilayat of Sur as part of the new 1.5-km road project that kicked off five months ago. Work on the project was stalled for a while due to pressure from the wali of Sur and the residents of Tiwi, but the  company later commenced work once again.

The residents of Tiwi are irked over this new road project as it was earlier earmarked  to be built along the old road, instead of crossing through the graveyard. Naseeb Al Farsi and his friends in Tiwi have launched a campaign to stop, what they term as "violating the cemeteries sanctuary". This  area is also considered to be an archeological site that has not been in media spotlight as yet.

The new road will cross the cemetery and leave the graves  exposed due to the digging work going on at the spot, Naseeb told Times of Oman. Such cemeteries, called 'grave areas', go back to more than 400 years and include more than 1,000 graves covering an area of 50,000 square meters. More than 10 persons were buried in one grave and other graves are even bigger, Naseeb told Times of Oman.

The residents pointed out that the demolition work will destroy a valuable and ancient archeological site, thanks to a lack of proper planning, and urged the concerned authorities to consider their request. It is believed that the cemetery contains graves of Portuguese and Omanis following the Oman Empire's war against Portuguese in Qalhat coastal area some 500 years ago.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Ministries of Transport and Awqaf will visit the cemetery site in the coming days to review and study the spot. The local citizens have appealed to the authorities to intervene immediately and save such a valuable archeological site from extinction.

It is worth mentioning that Wadi Tiwi, 50 kilometres west of Sur, is one of the favourite tourist destinations in the Sultanate and is known for its stunning beaches, mountains and cemeteries
as well.

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