Exploring Tourism in Oman
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Places to Visit Details



The main reason for visiting Barka, 80km west of Muscat, is to see bull-butting. This is where great Brahmin bulls, specially raised by local farmers, are set nose-to-nose in a push-and-shove that supposedly hurts neither party. To get to the bullring by car take the turning for Barka off the Muscat–Sohar Hwy and turn left at the T-intersection in the centre of town. After 3.4km you will see the concrete enclosure on your right. Bull-butting rotates from village to village along the Batinah coast on selected weekends. Ask locally to find out when and where, or chance your luck at the bullring on a Friday between November and March from 4pm to 6pm. There’s no admission charge.

Barka’s fort has an unusual octagonal tower. It has been closed for restoration for some time but is still impressive from the outside. To reach the fort from the town centre, turn right at the T-intersection; it’s 300m on the left.

Barka’s other point of interest is the 18th-century Bayt Nua’man, a restored merchant house that was closed at the time of writing. The turn-off for the house is signposted off the Muscat–Sohar Hwy, 7km west of Barka roundabout. There’s no public transport to the house.

Barka is famous for its halwa, a unique, laboriously made Omani confection that, served with small shots of Omani coffee, is an essential part of hospitality on formal occasions. The gelatinous sweet is quite distinct from the sesame confection known as halvah, found across the rest of the region. A pot from dedicated halwa shops in town costs from OR8.

There’s nowhere to stay in Barka, but the town makes an easy diversion en route for Sawadi or Sohar.

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