• Keywords: Oman, Cultural Landscape, Frankincense tree, Shisr, Wubar, Khor Rori, Sumhuram, Al Baleed, Al Balid, Wadi Dawkah, Wadi Andhoor, Hanoon, Wadi Hojar.

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

Frankincense Cultural Landscape is inscribed on the World Heritage List (named: “The Land of Frankincense”), with date of inscription: 2000, criteria: (iii)(iv), and ref: 1010. Wadi Dawkah is a Natural Park, protected by law, within the Frankincense Land.

  • World heritage list of UNESCO
  • Protection Figures

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape
Associative cultural landscape
1

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

The frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah and the remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr/Wubar and the affiliated ports of Khor Rori and Al-Baleed vividly illustrate the trade in frankincense that flourished in this region for many centuries, as one of the most important trading activities of the ancient and medieval world. The archeological sites linked to this trade, namely, Shisr or Wubar, Khor Rori or Sumhuram, Al Baleed, and the Natural Reserve of Wadi Dawkah, had such worldwide importance that in 2000 UNESCO inscribed them as World Heritage sites. Med-O-Med considers, according to UNESCO criteria (UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Article 1, 1972, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 2008) that the area linked to the frankincense production and trade, incuding all the sites already mentioned, is an Associative Cultural Landscape because it represents the civilisations that flourished in the south of the Arabian Peninsula from the Neolithic Age until the late Islamic Period and were economically, socially and culturally interconnected with the frankincense trade: -Shisr lies about 180 km north of Salalah in the desert. This agricultural oasis and caravan site on the route along which frankincense was brought from the Nejd to the port of Sumhuram was dominated by an Iron Age fortress and continued to be used in the Islamic periods. The archaeological remains occur near a large collapsed limestone dome in which there is a cave from which a perpetual spring flows. A fortress wall, constructed of limestone blocks and an irregular pentagon in plan, surrounds a central complex on a rocky outcrop. Stubs of walls indicate that the enceinte was divided into two enclosures, dominated by a substantial building that underwent a number of alterations and extensions during the medieval period, oriented on the cardinal points of the compass in what may be a southern Arabic tradition. -The port of Sumhuram/Khor Rori (the Moscha of classical geographical texts) was founded at the end of the 1st century by LL’ad Yalut to control the trade in Dhofar incense. Indian seamen who had brought cotton cloth, corn and oil in exchange for incense overwintered there, waiting for the favourable monsoon winds to take them home. It was the hub of the trading settlement on this coast during the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. Its close links with the powerful Shabwa state made this small fortified town very rich. The process of disintegration began in the first half of the 3rd century, when the site was reclaimed by the sea and by natural vegetation. Khor Rori lies 40 km to the east of Salalah on a hilltop on the eastern bank of a sweet-water outlet (khor ). The remains of the fortress are located on a rocky spur running east-west. It forms part of a wider defensive system, details of which still can be distinguished. The walls are built from dressed-stone facings with rubble cores. The most heavily fortified part is on the north, where the entrance is located, which itself is a massive structure with three successive gates on the steep entry path. It is flanked by the remains of towers. -Al-Baleed, an elevated site extending along the coast with a khor providing water from the mountains, is the historically late name for a medieval town in the Mahra area. It began to decline in the 12th century, and it was attacked and partially destroyed on several occasions in the 13th century, both by Arab rulers and by Persian raiders. By the late 15th century, radical changes to trading patterns imposed by Portuguese and other European trading nations sealed the fate of the town. Most of the site now consists of a barren landscape covered with stone blocks, the result of robbing for the construction of more recent buildings. The Great Mosque was surrounded by an outer platform on three sides. There was an inner courtyard and the 4 m square minaret was originally in the north-east corner. The main prayer hall was lined with 144 octagonal columns, which supported the roof. The structure underwent many changes, in some cases for collapses due to poor construction and for ground instability. -The Frankincense Park of Wadi Dawkah: The Neolithic inhabitants of southern Arabia were engaged in long-distance trade with the Arabian littoral and from there into Mesopotamia. Excavations have revealed that shells and obsidian were being traded, and there are documentary and epigraphic sources relating to trade in frankincense by the later 3rd millennium BCE, when it was certainly flourishing, not only with Mesopotamia but also with Egypt. The sources of frankincense can be identified with the three areas in the Dhofar region in which the frankincense tree is still to be found. The other main export from southern Arabia at this time was that of horses. The central feature is a north-draining wadi on the edge of the desert, the frankincense trees are to be found in the flat bed of the wadi. The higher areas within the park are largely acacias and similar species that can tolerate the more extreme conditions.

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination Frankincense, Shisr or Wubar, Khor Rori or Sumhuram, Al Baleed, Natural Reserve of Wadi Dawkah.
  • Current denomination Frankincense, Shisr or Wubar, Khor Rori or Sumhuram, Al Baleed, Natural Reserve of Wadi Dawkah.
  • Original denomination Frankincense, Shisr or Wubar, Khor Rori or Sumhuram, Al Baleed, Natural Reserve of Wadi Dawkah.
  • Popular denomination Frankincense, Shisr or Wubar, Khor Rori or Sumhuram, Al Baleed (Al Balid), Wadi Dawkah.
  • Address: The Land of Frankincense is in Dhofar Province, Oman.
  • Geographical coordinates: N18 15 11.988 E53 38 51.324 Property : 850 ha Buffer zone: 1,243 ha
  • Area, boundaries and surroundings: The Dhofar Governorate has been one of the most important producers of high quality frankincense in the world since ancient times and remains so today. -Archaeological sites: Shisr (in the southern part of the Rub’ Al-Khali or Empty Quarter, 170 km north of the city of Salalah and 90 kilometers from the Wilayat of Thumray), Khor Rori (a portuary ancient city), and Al Baleed (an elevated site extending along the coast with a khor providing water from the mountain), are archaeological sites that represents the ancient trade of frankincense. -The Natural Reserve of Wadi Dawkah: it lies in the Al-Najd area behind the northern slopes of the Dhofar mountains, which extend in a 30-km-wide band for 350 km The 2,000 m Jabel Samhan in the east, represents their highest point descending to 1,400 m Jebel Al-Qamar in the west.

3. LEGAL ISSUES

  • Owner: Oman's Government.
  • Legal protection: Wadi Dawkah is a Natural Park, protected by law. The frankincense crop is dependant on rules and customs established by the people residing near these areas, and production locations are divided into individual sections with each designated to one group. The owner of any section may rent it to any other group after negotiating a contract deciding whether the production will be shared or exploited in full by the tenant.
  • Public or private organizations working in the site: Ongoing development in this valley includes a programme (Oman's Government) to increase the number of gum trees Five thousand trees are being germinated to balance out patches of poor tree density, caused by environmental damage,and to round off vital protection measures in the area. In Shirs: The National Committee for the Supervision of Archaeological Surveys in the Sultanate, in cooperation with South-East Missouri State University, conducted archaeological surveys and excavations between 1992 and 1995. khor rori Since the last century, a great deal of research has been conducted on the site of Khor Rori, beginning in 1952 with (the American Archaeological Mission). Subsequently, the Ministry of Heritage and Culture conducted several surveys, focusing on the geography, archaeology and geology of the surrounding area. With the formation of the National Committee for the Supervision of Archaeology Surveys in the Sultanate and subsequently the Office of the Advisor to H.M. the Sultan for Cultural Affairs, additional surveys were carried out from 1996 to the present day, in collaboration with the Italian Mission to Oman (IMTO) from the University of Pisa.

4. HISTORY

While Shisr was already playing a major role in the Iron Age as an important outpost providing traders with water before they entered the desert of the Rub al-Khali, the foundation of the fortified port of Khor Rori/Sumhuram by LL’ad Yalut, king of the Hadhramawt, took place at the end of the 1st century BCE in the context of growing sea trade between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. After the decline of Khor Rori during the first half of the 3rd century CE, the site of al- Baleed can be considered to be that of the port which took over the main role in sea trade up to the Late Islamic period In the region of Dhofar the natural setting of Wadi Andoor, Wadi Hogar, and Wadi Dawkah represents the most significant area where frankincense trees grow. The Wadi Dawkah Park has been chosen for nomination as a natural/cultural site, representative of the harvesting of the incense gum from very early times and still intact in its natural setting. Early hominids (Homo erectus) arrived in Dhofar around 1 million years ago from East Africa. Evidence of their crossing is preserved in archaeological sites, principally in Yemen and western Saudi Arabia. Recent studies point to modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) reaching Dhofar around 1000,000 BP1, as shown by finds from the Nejd, and especially around the Shisr area. An extremely arid phase between 20,000 and 8000 years BP in southern Arabia led to the abandonment of most of the peninsula. In the Neolithic period, around 6000 BCE, pastoral nomads arrived in southern Arabia. These Semitic speakers came from the Levant and gradually occupied most of the peninsula. Traces of their herding of cattle, sheep, and goats, recognizable from their distinctive flint tools, are to be found throughout the Nejd on ancient river courses and lakes. It was these people who established the ancient longdistance trading routes. They first began trading frankincense from Dhofar in response to a demand from southern Mesopotamia. By 3200 BCE, with the introduction of writing, there is evidence that trade in frankincense increased in volume and frequency. The specific ethnic identity of the traders is unknown, but distinctive flint types link the trade specifically to Dhofar. The Bronze Age in Dhofar (2200-1300 BCE) was a period of retrenchment. The population retreated to the edges of the hills and the Salalah plain near permanent springs. They had close ties with the Bronze Age villages of Yemen. It was at this time that domestication of camels began. Maritime trade, most likely of copper, linked Masirah with Dhofar. The palaeo-lagoons and upland terraces were exploited intensively for the first time. Frankincense continued to be traded widely. The Iron Age (1300-300 BCE) saw the emergence of local populations again, herding cattle, goats, and now camels, as well as growing plants specific to Dhofar such as sorghum and millets following a lifestyle similar to that of the contemporary Mahra peoples. The rise of the southern Arabic states created a formal network for incense that reached to the west, along with a continuing demand from northern Yemen and eastern Arabia. By 300 BCE the site of Shisr had become part of this network. The Periplus of Ptolemy’s Geographia (2nd century CE) provides a clearer picture of the region and its peoples. Excavations at Shisr and the Salalah plain show that both the Hadrami state of Shabwa (Khor Rori/Sumhuram) and the indigenous people participated in the incense trade. The Omani Arabs, moving north-eastwards from Yemen, enter the picture at this time as part of the complex interaction in social relations and economic life. The Parthian Persians also influenced Dhofar, as instanced by material remains at Shisr and the Salalah coast. Combining the historical and archaeological evidence, it has been suggested that Shisr could be either Ubar or the Omanum Emporium of Ptolemy, whilst Khor Rori has been associated with the Moscha limen of the Periplus Maris Erythraei (1st century CE). During the Islamic period internal trade continued to prosper, perhaps fuelled by the demand for incense and horses. Links to India that had been developed millennia earlier continued to be strong. Coastal Dhofar participated in long-distance international trade, especially in the Abbasid Period. Both fortified inlets and harbours and small settlements testify to these ties between the Red Sea and East Africa to the west and India and China to the east. Al-Balid and Mirbat continued to prosper, reaching their peak in the Middle Islamic Period. By 1450 the Turkish and Portuguese invasions brought the network created in Iron Age and Islamic times to a standstill.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Rural
  • Geography: Valley
  • Site topography: Natural
  • Climate and environmental conditions: The climate of Oman has two distinct periods: the cooler winter months when most rain falls in Northern Oman, especially in the mountains, and the hot summer when a southwest monsoonal airflow affects most of the country, with a significant deposition of fog moisture occurring in parts of the Dhofar highlands. The southwest trade winds begin to blow across the Indian Ocean in May, reaching the Dhofar coast as the warm moist monsoon. By July and August, these winds reach a peak of 20-30 knots parallel to the coast, setting up a strong current from Somalia to western India. Deep, cold water wells up, particularly off Dhofar, and, being several degrees colder than the air passing over it, cools the air to dew-point. A bank of fog and ragged cloud then forms over the sea and a temperature inversion tends to prevent its dispersal, though daily changes occur. Where the Dhofar highlands face the wind, the fog and cloud press against them, riding to the top of Jebel Al Qara’, but rarely over Jebel Qamar. The moisture condenses on objects (especially plants) and sometimes falls as drizzle.
  • Geological and Geographical characteristics: Wadi Dawkah is an example of an area where frankincense trees grow in large numbers. The wadi is situated approximately 40 kilometers from Salalah on the highway linking Salalah to Muscat in the direction of Shisr(Wubar). It is a stony, semi-desert area featuring small, rounded hills interspersed with shallow depressions, the result of ancient flooding. Frankincense trees and plants dominate the area’s vegetation, although other varieties of trees and herbs can also be found. The trees occupy an approximately 5 kilometer -wide strip along the length of the wadi, a distance of some 14 kilometers. a total of 1,230 ancient trees of varying size were found in the area. All of the frankincense trees in the wadi share a conic outline with mitral leaves.
Vegetation:

Frankincense is a gum resin extracted from the trunk of Boswellia sacra trees through an incision. Frankincense trees produce various qualities of resin depending on the climatic and environmental conditions in which they grow, as well as the harvesting period and the skills of the cultivator. Their preferred habitat is in the high arid area behind the monsoon mountains of Dhofar within reach of the cooling winds which blow during the wet season, and a stony soil rich in limestone. There are four different qualities of frankincense. The finest type is known as “al-hojari”, which is harvested during the hottest season, “annajdi”, produced in the months following the monsoon, “ashazri”, from the first cuts of the season, and finally “asha’bi”, also known as “Assahili”, which is harvested during the coldest season of the year. al-hojari comes from trees grown far from the ocean in the dry, elevated regions which are not exposed to fogs and monsoons. Asha’bi is the least precious because the trees grow close to the ocean and are affected by the monsoon rains. The frankincense tree begins to yield resin eight to ten years after planting, and grows rapidly when located in ideal environments. Its height ranges from three to five meters and it has a single root. Glands of gum resin, which grow in small clusters, are located under the bark, which peels away from the tree in the form of bark leaves. The tree’s branches are small and dense, and the leaves grow along their sides. Small blossoms with an aciniform shape gather on the sides of the offshoots. Following the blossoming period, dry seeds turn from green to black and subsequently fall.

Land uses and economical activities:
-Frankincense Trade: Oman’s geographical location enabled the country to play a pivotal role in ancient trade between the Indian Ocean in the east and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. Traders used the convoy route from the Arabian Peninsula through the Empty Quarter to Mesopotamia, and the Mediterranean basin to Europe. Trade was also conducted via the Omani sea ports of Dhofar, such as Sumhuram, Al-Baleed, Raysut and Mirbat, across the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to East Africa and Egypt on the Red Sea, and via the Indian subcontinent to western Asia.
Agricultural issues or other traditional productions and their effect on the landscape:
The Dhofar Governorate has been one of the most important producers of high quality frankincense in the world since ancient times and remains so today. Its trees grow in a number of areas notably: Wadi Andhoor, situated in the northern Dhofar mountains approximately 65 kilometres to the north of Mirbat, Hanoon, located approximately 60 kilometers to the north of Salalah, Wadi Hojar, situated in the Al-Najd area behind Hasik, north-east of Salalah, and Wadi Dawkah (Natural Park), in the Al-Najd area behind the northern slopes of the Dhofar mountains. The frankincense crop is dependant on rules and customs established by the people residing near these areas, and production locations are divided into individual sections with each designated to one group. The owner of any section may rent it to any other group after negotiating a contract deciding whether the production will be shared or exploited in full by the tenant.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

The frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah and the remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr/Wubar and the affiliated ports of Khor Rori and Al-Baleed vividly illustrate the trade in frankincense that flourished in this region for many centuries, as one of the most important trading activities of the ancient and medieval world. The area has mainly historical and cultural meaning.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general

Art pieces, artesany, furniture and other elements:

Archeological Findings at Al-Baleed: Archaeological discoveries have revealed many pottery pieces, coins, glass, bones and shells. Red pottery pieces with rounded points dating back to the Iron Age (325 BC) were found on the site indicating that the area was inhabited at that time. Pottery pieces of different shapes, most of which date back to the Islamic era, were also found. Two types of pottery were discovered at the site: local and imported. The former appeared in fragments of cooking pots and utensils dating to the period between the 15th and 16th centuries, while the latter dated to the period between the 6th and 8th centuries AH/12th–14th centuries AD, or to the era of the Chinese family of Ming. Some Chinese porcelain with blue plant ornamentation dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries was also found. Bronze coins found at the site date back to the 12th century AD, the Sung dynasty (8th-11th centuries AH/12th-17th centuries AD). Six pieces of copper coins were also found, one of which bore an Arabic letter indicating they were Arab or Islamic. Some coins dating back to the 16th century AD. were also found. Pieces of glass, and white and blue bottles were found at the site, in addition to fragments of blue and white glass bracelets decorated with green, red and yellow lines. Some plain, dark glass bracelets, believed to have been imported from China, were also found, indicating important aspects of the city’s history and economic activities.

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
It is not the case.
B) Related to ancient remains

  • Archaeological components:

    -SHIRS (WUBAR FORT) Shisr (Wubar) is located in the southern part of the Rub’ Al-Khali or Empty Quarter, 170 kilometers north of the city of Salalah and 90 kilometers from the Wilayat of Thumrayt. The National Committee for the Supervision of Archaeological Surveys in the Sultanate, in cooperation with South-East Missouri State University, conducted archaeological surveys and excavations between 1992 and 1995. These were undertaken after the location of the site had been ascertained, situated a top a hill of crumbled limestone. Its collapse had either been caused as a result of erosion by underground water streams or by an earthquake causing an explosion in the spring, propelling water through rock layers to the exterior. Archaeologists discovered that the region had been settled over 7,000 years before, with small scattered historic sites attesting to its original Neolithic Age (5000 BC to 4000 BC). -KHOR RORI AREA: Kumhuram was a city built in the Khor Rori area at the end of the 5th century to the 3rd century BC. It was the most important settlement in Dhofar in the period prior to Islam, as it was the centre of the frankincense production region. Khor Rori lies along the coast between Taqah and Mirbat, and is situated approximately 40 kilometres east of the Wilayat of Salalah. The presence of several site levels reflects several successive settlements. The name Khor Rori equates ( to the Mosha Laymen) of Greek records referring to a date between the first and second centuries AD. The structure of the city shows that it was an important and wealthy settlement with impressive strong fortifications, an enormous city gate, imposing buildings, a temple to the God of the Moon, stores and multi-floored houses. The passage through the city gate was marked by a series of commemorative inscriptions which referred to the foundation of the city. A small temple outside Sumhuram’s walls, probably linked to the necropolis, was excavated in 2003. In the temple inside the city numerous votive objects were found scattered across the floor of the sanctuary: the base of a bronze candelabrum, bronze bells, coins, bronze incense burners, a complete stone vessel, an offering table, several dozen seashells which were used as oil lamps and personal ornaments including a bronze bracelet, a finger ring and a pendant in the form of a camel. The most important object was a bronze bowl with a votive inscription running along the rim. The dedication was to the God Sin in ‘his temple in Sumhuram in the land of Sakalan’. Some objects, coins and pottery are evidence that Sumhuram was the one of the first Arabian cities, in ancient times to establish a relationship by sea with the Mediterranean, India and the Gulf area. Coal and wood specimens were taken from various parts of the site and analysed by Carbon-14 dating. They revealed a time span of construction from the end of 4th century BC to the 5th century AD. -AL-BALEED: According to the latest Archaeological discovery the history of Al-Baleed goes back to pre-Islamic time, it was a main settlement at (2000 B.C) during the late Iron Age it was an active central city and was prosperous during the Islamic era. It became obvious from its large wall and strong forts that the city was renovated in the style of other contemporary Islamic cities during Al-Habudheen era (13th century AD). The city benefited from the prosperous frankincense trade and was commercially linked to ports in China, India, the Indus Valley, Yemen, East Africa, Iraq and Europe. The Major Archeological Landmarks of the ancient city are: The Grand Mosque The mosque was the major building in the city, believed to have been built during the 4th century AH/10th century AD and in use until the 11th century AH/17th century AD, it covered an area of 1,700 square meters. It included 144 pillars which formed 13 rows parallel to the kiblah wall. Most of these pillars were octagonal in shape, but some were cylindrical with square bases and a crown. There was an unroofed area in the centre of the mosque. The mosque was accessed from various gates, three of which were on the western side and three on the eastern side. The mihrab and minbar were situated in the middle of kiblah wall, and the mosque was surrounded by a mastaba (bench), which was accessed through a series of stone stairs at scattered locations. The minaret was erected in the north-eastern part of the mosque, but the western part was rebuilt and a minaret constructed near the kiblah wall. The ablution (wudhoo area) remained on the eastern side. The mosque had a small mosque-shaped annex in the south-eastern corner, and its mihrab can be clearly seen in the kiblah wall. Al-Baleed Citadel The citadel was where the ruler resided and was the centre of power. It was located north of the grand mosque. The excavated portions included the northern side, which comprised an external wall and a round tower at the wall’s centre. Another tower was found in the north-eastern corner, while the north-western corner was linked by another wall to the main city wall. Excavations continued to uncover other towers on the southern side of the fort, and remains of lime and plaster. The citadel consisted of several storeys, the remains of which can still be seen on the site. The latest excavations focused on the citadel’s southern side, which was the front area overlooking the grand mosque. A tower, the main entrance and a winding path leading up some stairs to the upper storeys were uncovered and some of the upper floors were also found. The path led to some chambers in the north, six of which were already uncovered. One of these rooms included a stratum of burned ash mixed with bronze, which indicated it may have been used as a workshop. The City’s Wall and Gate Excavations proved what was indicated by some historical sources — that the city had been fortified, surrounded by defensive walls and contained four gates and circular and semicircular towers. A narrow path inside the wall led to a tower from which the port and city could be observed. The lower parts of the wall were built from large, solid square stones, while the upper parts consisted of small stones. In all cases the excavated part of the wall, which was 3 meters wide and more than 4 meters high, could be seen. The remains of a half tower in the city’s western gate were also discovered, but archaeological evidence was compromised due to damage on the site. Remains included refined rectangular stones placed on solid lime cement, which formed the foundations for the gates. The entrance consisted of a threshold built of stone. Half the destroyed entrance can be seen from the west together with the stony edges which form part of the city’s gate. The half tower and gate could be considered as a functional unit from which the wall and gate could be watched. These were in addition to the remains of the eastern and south-western gates.

  • Historical routes:

    The frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah and the remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr/Wubar and the affiliated ports of Khor Rori and Al-Baleed vividly illustrate the trade in frankincense that flourished in this region for many centuries, as one of the most important trading activities of the ancient and medieval world. This highlights the civilisations that flourished in the south of the Arabian Peninsula from the Neolithic Age until the late Islamic Period and were economically, socially and culturally interconnected. These links revolved around the frankincense trade network that expanded as far as the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Mesopotamia, India, and China. Sumhuram, Al Baleed, Raysut and Mirbat were the most important ports engaged in the export of frankincense by sea. Camel caravans also played an important role in the trade of frankincense by way of the land routes of the Arabian Peninsula.

  • Traces in the environment of human activity: Archaecological remains. Frankincense trees.
C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values

  • Languages and dialects: Arabic
  • Lifestyle, believing, cults, traditional rites: People use to life from the frankincense production and trade, and it is very inside of the lifestyle an culture of the site.

5.3. Quality

Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:

-The archeological sites linked to the frankincense trade: Shisr, Khor Rori and Al Baleed. -The Natural Park of Wadi Dawkah. -Other natural sites rich in frankincense trees as Wadi Andhoor, Hanoon, or Wadi Hojar.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Aesthetic
  • Archaeological
  • Living heritage
The main tangible values of "Frankincense Cultural Landscape" are: -Aesthetic/Living heritage: The frankincense trees, in a desertic landscape, conform a beatiful panorama typical from the country. The Natural Reserve of Wadi Dawkah is a good example of that. Also, the frankincense tree, its comerce and production represents a way of life of the people who inhabited the area. -Archaeological: There are ancient remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr/Wubar and the affiliated ports of Khor Rori and Al-Baleed, all involved in the frankincense trade network. -Botanical: Frankincense tree has a lot of botanical values. Each part of the tree is useful: the underbark as a dye for cotton clothing, the leaves as animal fodder, and the buds, flowers and fruit as a tonic for cleansing the digestive system and for deodorizing the mouth.

Intangible

  • Historical
  • Religious
The main intangible values of "Frankincense Cultural Landscape" are: -Historical: The frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah and the remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr/Wubar and the affiliated ports of Khor Rori and Al-Baleed vividly illustrate the trade in frankincense that flourished in this region for many centuries, as one of the most important trading activities of the ancient and medieval world. -Social significance/Religious: Legend says that flying snakes protected frankincense trees. The value of frankincense derives from its use in religious, medical and incantation rituals. Oman had the main role in giving the tree its value through the frankincense trade.
Authenticity:
The archaeological remains found in the "Frankincense Cultural Landscape" show that trade in frankincense increased around 3200 BCE.
Universality:
This group of archaeological sites in Oman represents the production and distribution of frankincense, one of the most important luxury items of trade in antiquity from the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions to Mesopotamia, India and China. They constitute outstanding testimony to the civilization that from the Neolithic to the late Islamic period flourished in southern Arabia. The Oasis of Shishr and the entrepôts of Khor Rori and Al-Balīd are excellent examples of medieval fortified settlements in the Persian Gulf region. Med-O-Med agrees to UNESCO criteria (iii, iv), and resolves to include another one (x), according to the properties of the frankincese tree: iii) The group of archaeological sites in Oman represent the production and distribution of frankincense, one of the most important luxury items of trade in the Old World in antiquity. iv) The Oasis of Shishr and the entrepots of Khor Rori and Al-Balid are outstanding examples of medieval fortified settlements in the Persian Gulf region. x) Natural Reserve of Wadi Dawkah is a significant natural habitat for in-situ conservation of frankincense trees.
Values linked to the Islamic culture and civilisation:
This group of archaeological sites in Oman represents the production and distribution of frankincense, one of the most important luxury items of trade in antiquity from the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions to Mesopotamia, India and China. They constitute outstanding testimony to the civilization that from the Neolithic to the late Islamic period flourished in southern Arabia. The Oasis of Shishr and the entrepôts of Khor Rori and Al-Balīd are excellent examples of medieval fortified settlements in the Persian Gulf region.

7. ENCLOSURES

Historical and graphical data (drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, literary items…):

The Frankincense Cultural Landscape is one of all of the cultural landscapes of Oman which are included in The Cultural Landscape inventory runned by Med-O-Med.

Bibliography:

http://www.omanwhs.gov.om/english/Frank/FrankincenseTree.asp http://www.omanwhs.gov.om/english/Frank/Albalid9.asp http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/om http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1010 http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/184 http://whc.unesco.org/venice2002 http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/middle-east/oman/salalah/map.html http://www.omanholiday.co.uk/FRANKINCENSE-Trail-by-Tony-Walsh-for-Abode-Magazine.pdf -Gibson, D. (2011). Qur’anic Geography: A Survey and Evaluation of the Geographical References in the Qur’an with Suggested Solutions for Various Problems and Issues. Independent Scholars Press, Canada. ISBN 978-0-9733642-8-6. -Groom, N. (1981). Frankincense & Myrrh: A Study of the Arabian Incense Trade. ISBN 0-86685-593-9. -Maloney, G. A, (1997). Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh: An Introduction to Eastern Christian Spirituality. ISBN 0-8245-1616-8. -UNESCO. (2001). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. World Heritage Committee. 25 session. Helsinki, Finland. -UNESCO. (2002). Cultural Landscapes: the Challenges of Conservation. Associated Workshops, World Heritage. Ferrara, Italy. -Walsh, T. (1978).The frankincense trail.

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.