A joint Omani-French expedition has discovered the Friday Mosque, built by Bibi Maryam in Qalhat around 1300 AD, according to Biubwa Ali Al Sabri, Director of Excavation and Archaeological Sites at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.
At a media briefiing she said that the mosque was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1508. The ministry is planning an archaeological park and a museum at the site. "The findings of the on-going archaeology excavations would be displayed for visitors, tourists and students of history and culture," Biubwa said.
Biubwa also said that Qalhat is the only ancient city which still maintained due to natural protection from mountain and sea. "Human development still has very little impact on the city and the French team involved in the archaeology excavation has found many interesting facts, figures and artefacts from the site."
Dr Axelle Rougeulle, an expert on history of the Indian Ocean trade and harbours during the Islamic period, said that the site was currently a ruined field, about 35 hectares wide, surrounded by fortification walls. "This is all that is left of a large medieval harbour city which was the main port in Oman from the 13th to 15th century," said the head of the expedition from the National Centre for Scientific Studies, Paris.
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