To the north of Muscat and lying between the coast and the Hajar Mountains, lies the Batinah Plain, a fertile area providing much of Oman’s food and agriculture. For those interested in the history and architecture of Oman, it is worth a visit, either as a day trip from Muscat, or perhaps on the way to Bani Awf, the off-road route through the mountains to Nizwa. Dotted along the base of the mountains are a series of springs and wadi mouths. These had great strategic importance historically, and magnificent forts, notably Rustaq and Nakhl, were built to defend them. These forts have been built on plugs of rock, incorporating the naturally impregnable slopes into the design of the walls. The walls and fabric of the forts has been restored to its exact original state, and the various bits of furniture and weaponry on display give an accurate idea of what life was like in these forts.