From there they established relationships with other tribal groups of the interior.Bahla was the centre of Ibadism (a branch of Islam), on which the ancient Omani Imamates were based and whose influence can be traced across Arabia, Africa and beyond.Maintaining the surveillance role of the fort in relation to the souq, the surrounding settlement and the gateways will similarly depend on careful management of development within the property.Authenticity (2010) At the time of inscription, the fort was dilapidated and decaying rapidly after each rainy season.The extensive wall (sur) with sentry walk and watchtowers enclosing the labyrinth of mud brick dwellings and cultivatable land has several gateways.The oasis is watered by the falaj system of wells and underground channels bringing groundwater from distant springs, and by management of the seasonal flow of water.
Integrity (2010) At the time of inscription, it was noted that the Bahla Fort and adjacent Friday Mosque were inseparable from the small oasis town surrounding it and the boundary therefore follows the line of the wall (sur) enclosing the whole oasis settlement. The principal constituents of Bahla's architectural ensemble have survived and together they form an integral and largely complete historic walled oasis settlement and major defensive complex.
Comprising mostly earthen structures however, they are vulnerable to decay and inadequate site drainage and, in the case of the souq, are vulnerable to reconstruction in modern materials.
The falaj system and water course on which the settlement depends, together with the historic routes linking the settlement to other towns in the interior, extend far beyond its boundary.
The remaining mud brick family compounds of traditional vernacular houses (harats) including al-Aqr, al-Ghuzeili, al-Hawulya and the associated mosques, audience halls (sablas), bath houses, together with the dwellings of the fort guards (askari) demonstrate a distinctive settlement pattern related to the location of the falaj.
The importance of the settlement is enhanced by the Friday mosque with its highly ornate mihrab and the remains of the old, semi-covered market (souq), comprising a complex of single-storey shops fronting onto narrow lanes, the whole enclosed by an outer wall.