I Heart My City: Nicole’s Nizwa, Oman

Even though Nicole Brewer hails from Detroit, Michigan, she has made the world her home. After stints in South Korea, Germany, and South Africa, Nicole decided to take a job as an English instructor in Nizwa, Oman. When she’s not at the head of the class, she’s hard at work building I Luv 2 Globetrot, a blog she co-founded with a friend who shares her love of travel. Now in her second year of teaching in Oman, Nicole has grown to love what she describes as a “city like no other for its natural charm and distinctive beauty.” Here’s a look at Nizwa through her lens.

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Nizwa Is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them to is the Nizwa Fort.

Spring is the best time to visit my city because of the glorious roses. The best place to see them is on the sides of Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain). The climate is also at its best when spring rolls around.

You can see my city best from the Jebel Akhdar mountains.

Locals know to skip Lulu’s Hypermarket and check out the spice and meat souqs (markets) instead for an array of spices and fresh meats to choose from.

Nizwa Souq is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

My city’s best museum is found outdoors at the ruins of Misfat al Abryeen, a neighboring village that reveals a lot about the region’s history.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that taxis are king! Nizwa is a small city and there are not many options for public transportation.

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is on a date farm. There is a lovely farm near the Birkat Al Mouz ruins where you can take a stroll and drink in the fresh air.

My city really knows how to celebrate the Omani National Day because we cherish the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The occasion is marked by parades, festivals, and a traditional dance performed with khanjars (daggers).  

You can tell if someone is from my city if they are wearing a dishdasha or thawb, an ankle-length robe-like garment.

For a fancy night out, I go to the Falaj Daris Hotel.

Just outside my city, you can visit Oman’s capital city, Muscat, the region’s cruise ship hub, where you can indulge in fine dining and shopping, as well as visit gorgeous historic sites such as Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and the Royal Omani Opera House.

My city is known for being historic, but it’s really quaint and calm.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read the Times of Oman.

To escape the crowds, I visit the wadis (small valleys), which are great places to unwind, enjoy a traditional barbecue, or simply read a book after a long day.

The dish that represents my city best is shish taoukmarinated chicken skewers. Sample them at Barbeque Nation.

The Golden Tulip is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out the Falaj Daris Hotel.

Early-morning goat markets could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should go hiking in the mountains to enjoy the fresh air and majestic views of the city.

In the summer you should take a dip in the fabulous pools at the Golden Tulip or the Al Diyar Hotel to stay cool in the scorching heat.

In the fall you should go to the camel races. They’re a must if you’re in the Middle East.

In the winter you should go to Wadi Ghul, Oman’s Grand Canyon, in order to see the beautiful night skies and have a small barbecue in the mountains.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss Birkat Al Mouz’s historic ruins.

The best book about my city is The Sultan’s Shadow: One Family’s Rule at the Crossroads of East and West, because it discusses the royal family’s historical drama back when Nizwa was the capital of Oman.

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Comments

  1. Kristen
    January 31, 2015, 7:59 pm

    This is an awesome article! I’m right next door in the UAE and have been wanting to visit Oman again for a bit longer. It would be great to connect with you!

  2. Virginia
    Australia
    January 30, 2015, 7:40 am

    What a great guide and photos. I was lucky enough to visit Muscat and Nizwa on a far too short trip several months ago. I have similar photos but regret not being able to visit the stock markets on Friday. I really would like to return to Oman and visit other parts of the country. Nicole you live in a wonderfully intriguing country – thank you for sharing!

  3. Nicole
    Dubai
    January 30, 2015, 2:51 am

    Waoo, Excellent description. I love Oman and I am always happy to read very good articles about Oman…looking forward to visit again and discover new places.
    Thanks for sharing…
    Cheers
    Nicole

  4. Nicole Brewer
    Oman
    January 30, 2015, 2:12 am

    Thanks again National Geographic for posting my submission! Much appreciated!

  5. Chloe Logan
    France
    January 29, 2015, 8:33 am

    What a lovely guide. Mascat is very high up on my to-travel list, but Nizwa would be a lovely stop! I also hail from Detroit, Bloomfield Hills to be exact, and am teaching English abroad (in France)–small world! But I started learning Arabic during my senior year of college, and ever since I’ve yearned to use it in an Arab country–like Oman.

    Chloe | Wanderlust in the Midwest

  6. Kim
    January 29, 2015, 1:04 am

    What a Wonderful article!