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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1203] (252/688)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (341 folios). It was created in 1917. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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liills ; but its Isolation from the interior is less complete, for an easy route leads through a
pass called Kharashif to Bait-al-Falaj and Ruwi, whence routes described in the article
on Masqat District diverge to various parts of 'Oman. The ordinary way to Masqat Town
lies by Matairah and Riyam along the coast; there is also a more inland route across the
hills.' Communication with the capital, however, is maintained chiefly by boat, the
passage occupying in a rowing-boat about | of an hour.
The bay of Matrah* is 1,400 yards wide, 1,200 yards deep and shoals regularly from 8
iathoms at the entrance to the beach on which the town stands. In appearance it is
4ess remarkable than the bay of Masqat; but though open to the north-east, it is sheltered
from the north-west, is more easily entered, and is preferred as a harbour by ordinary
native craft.
The town extends along the water's edge for J of a mile and has a mean depth inland of
about 250 yards. The fort, a Portuguese construction of the same typo as the forts at
Masqat, stands on a rocky eminence at the east end of the town which, like Masqat, is
defended, where nature has left it unprotected, by a wall with fortified gateways ; the
most important gate is the Bab-al-Kabir at the south-west corner of the town, by which
the Ruwi road leaves Matrah. Several blockhouses, as at Masqat, tomnrand the ap
proaches through the hills. The Customs House is on the beach slightly to the west of the
fort. In the centre of the town upon the sea-front stands the fortifed quarter inhabited
by the Khojah community and generally known as the Khojah Fort; behind it, some
distance to the north-west of the Bab-al-Kabir, is the Bab-as-Saghir. About midway
between the Customs House and the Khojah Fort a hollow, coming from the Bab-al-
Kablr and known as Khor Bambah, reaches the sea. The houses of Matrah Town
are meaner than those of Masqat, but there is less suburban squalor.
The following are the quarters of Matrah within the walls—
Harat-as-Siyagh .
About the centre of the town,
on the sea face and extending
some distance inland.
On the south
side of Sur-al-
Number of houses and remarks.
On the sea, immediately north
west of Sar-al-Lawatiyah.
On the sea, immediately north
west of Harat-as-Siyagh.
Forms the extreme north-west
end of the town upon the sea,
being situated between the
Sarmalla quarter and the
separate village of Arbaq.
300 houses of Khojahs. This is
the Khojah Fort already men
150 houses of slaves and ser
vants of the Khcjahs; also
Baluehis and Jadgals.
50 houses of Hindu silver
smiths, Baltichis and Bayasi-
25 houses of Baliichis and
Bayasirah. At the •junction
of the Harat-as-Siyagh and
Sarmalla quarters, on the
side furthest from the sea,
stood the old Jabru gate.
125 houses of Manadharah,
Baluchis, negroes and Hindus.
At the junction of the Sarmalla
and Harat-ash-Shamal quar
ters, on the in 1 and side, is the
present gate called Jabru in
the town wall. There is alag a
gate called Bab-al-Matha'ib'.
♦See Admiralty Plan No. 2372 - 2809.

About this item


Volume II of III of the Gazetteer of Arabia. The Gazetteer is alphabetically-arranged and this volume contains entries K through to R.

The Gazetteer is an alphabetically-arranged compendium of the tribes, clans and geographical features (including towns, villages, lakes, mountains and wells) of Arabia that is contained within three seperate bound volumes. The entries range from short descriptions of one or two sentences to longer entries of several pages for places such as Iraq and Yemen.

A brief introduction states that the gazetteer was originally intended to deal with the whole of Arabia, "south of a line drawn from the head of the Gulf of 'Aqabah, through Ma'an, to Abu Kamal on the Euphrates, and to include Baghdad and Basrah Wilayats" and notes that before the gazetteer could be completed its publication was postponed and that therefore the three volumes that now form this file simply contain "as much of the MSS. [manuscript] as was ready at the time". It further notes that the contents have not been checked.

Extent and format
1 volume (341 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: This volume's foliation system is circled in pencil, in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. of each folio.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1203] (252/688), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/16/2/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 March 2020]

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