Jabreen Castle (حصن جبرين) (also spelled Jibreen Castle) is the most beautiful historic castle in the whole of Oman. This historic castle was constructed in the late 17th century and is located in Bahla in the Al Dakhiliyah Governorate about 175 KM away from Muscat.
Jabreen Castle was built by Imam Bel’arab bin Sultan Al Yarubi. His father was Imam Sultan bin Saif Al Yarubi the Imam who removed the Portuguese from Oman and the one who expanded Nizwa fort to its current form. Imam Bel’arab inherited from his father a country in a period of peace after the removal of the Portuguese. It is rumored that this palace was actually built through the personal funding of Bel’arab during the lifetime of his father before he became the Imam of the country. The country experienced an era of prosperity and development through the time of Imam Bel’arab until his brother Said bin Sultan succeeded in his scheme to remove him in 1692.
Jabreen Castle is different from other Omani forts because it was not built in the times of war and is not a fortification that was expanded by different Imams overs centuries. It is basically a palace constructed in times of peace by a ruler who was passionate about science and art and that made it the most beautiful historic castle found in the Sultanate. The castle is three stories tall, features two towers, numerous receptions halls, dining areas, meeting rooms, a court room, a library, and classrooms. The interior design of the castle features decorated windows, wooden balconies, arches with inscribed Arabic calligraphy, and breathtaking ceiling artwork.
One of the most significant rooms in Jabreen Castle is the “Sun and Moon Hall”, a special reception hall for important guests that features 14 windows and an intricate ceiling with eye-shaped designs. Another highlight is the inner central yard that provides a private airy outlet to walk towards the dining halls and the court room and provides the residents of the castle with a private outdoors area.
Visitors of Bahla might be tempted to choose to go to the recently renovated UNESCO World Heritage List site Bahla Fort, which is thousands of years older than Jabreen Fort, but there is no doubt that Bahla Fort has nothing on the beautiful, intricate palace of Jabreen Castle. Jabreen Castle is open from Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 4pm and on Friday from 8am to 11am. Entry fee is 500 baizas for adults.