IntroductionSet on a craggy perch in the West Hanjar Hills and overlooking groves of palms, the town's 17th-century fortress has one of the most dramatic and picturesque views in the country. The area is also known for its mineral-rich thermal springs, the most popular of which is at Thuara. About 30 mi/48 km farther west is Rustaq, which holds a special place in Oman's history: It was the seat of the imam (Muslim leader) for many centuries and the nation's capital. Today, visitors can still see a nicely restored fort that reflects the architecture of several different eras. This area also has popular therapeutic hot springs, notably Ain al-Kasafa. The high sulfur content is thought to be beneficial to rheumatoid and skin conditions. Because beekeeping is a traditional occupation there, the town's honey is highly prized. Nakhal is about 50 mi/80 km southwest of Masqat.
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