An old stronghold on the inland side of the mountain is Birkat al-Mouz, or Pool of the Plantains, with a layout similar to that of the nearby Jabrin Palace. Poised across the yawning mouth of a great pass into the mountains, Birkat al-Mouz was one of the fortresses of the Bani Riyam tribe which controlled the mountain heartland. Collapsing into ruin until recently, the mud-brick fortress and its painted ceilings are now being restored.
The Jebel Akhar, Jabal Akhdar or Al Jabal Al Akhdar (meaning ‘Green Mountain’)is part of the Al Hajar Mountains range in Ad Dakhiliyah Governorate of Oman. It extends about 300 km (186 miles) northwest to southeast, between 50–100 km (31–62 miles) inland from the Gulf of Oman coast and is one of Oman’s most spectacular areas. The highest point, Jebel Shams (Mountain of the Sun), is around 3,000 metres (around 9,800 feet) high. This mostly limestone mountain is the highest point in Oman and the whole of eastern Arabia. In 2019 Oman by UTMB plans to include Jebel Shams in an awesome long course option.
Jebel Akhdar forms the central section of the Al Hajar Mountains range, and is located around 150 km (93 miles) from Muscat. The range is mostly desert, but at higher altitudes receives around 300 mm (12 in) of precipitation annually — moist enough to allow the growth of shrubs and trees and support agriculture. It is this that gives the mountains their “green” name. The area is about a 45-minute drive from Nizwa and is known for its traditional rose water extraction and agricultural products including pomegranates, walnuts, apricots, black grapes and peaches. It is also the site of honey bee breeding for much of Oman. Agricultural production is improved by the use of Aflaj irrigation channels and their associated terraces system devised by the local farmers, whose ancestors have lived on this mountain for hundreds of years. The Jebel is mostly inhabited by the ancient Arab tribe Bani Riyam (al Riyamy).
In August 2011, Sultan Qaboos designated Jebel Akhdar a nature reserve in a bid to conserve its unique yet fragile biodiversity. A decree issued by Sultan Qaboos established the ‘Jebel Akhdar Sanctuary for Natural Sceneries.’