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The Ancient City of Qahlat (Oman)


At the request of the Arab States Unit of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris, Cynthia Dunning Thierstein was invited to analyse the World Heritage nomination of the ancient city of Qalhat in the Sultanate of Oman. This archaeological site, one of the most impressive in Oman, is characterised by its medieval port, particularly important in southern Arabia between the 13th and 15th centuries, and its interactions with the twin city of Hormuz, located in Iran across the strait. The site covers more than 35 hectares and has never been reoccupied since the 16th century. Rediscovered in 2003, the medieval city has been the subject of regular archaeological research since 2007. The best known monuments on the site are the mausoleum of Bibi Marjam, the Great Friday Mosque and the Hammam, the only building of its kind discovered on the Arabian Peninsula. The General Directorate for Archaeology and Museums at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture hosted Cynthia Dunning Thierstein on site in December 2015, during which she was able to see the progress of the work both on the ground and from an administrative point of view.

The recommendation on the nomination was made in early 2016. The site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2018.

  • International
  • Archaeology
  • Nomination
  • Evaluation
  • Consulting