The capital city of Oman
There are majestic mountains and soft sandy beaches surrounding the city
Some of the most prominent landmarks are the Forts of Al Jalali and Al Mirani, which were both built in the 16th century. At one time the entire city was walled and parts of it remain intact, including the three main gates. More recently, however, much of the walls were replaced by a stone moat. Other sights that you must see are the colourful Al Alam Palace and the Al Bustan Palace Hotel.
Muscat has plenty of beautiful soft sandy beaches to enjoy, with the best-known ones being Al Sifa, Al Khayran and Al Jissah. Some of the more traditional activities you might see, on or near the beaches, include fishing, net sewing and basket weaving. Forestry and herding are also carried on nearby.
Along the gulf of Oman is a narrow strip of coast called the Seeb, where you can find a number of ancient monuments. However, it is better known for some of the modern landmarks along the highway. You may also see a form of bullfighting, in which spectators assemble and form a ‘human chain’.
In Mattrag, there are several public gardens and picnic areas, the most popular being Riyam Park. If you are looking for cultural enrichment there are the town’s museums, the Bait al Zubair, the National Museum and Bait al Falaj, which is the Armed Forces Museum.
The Battle of the Two Wastelands is located between the mountains and the sea at the wilayat of Bausher, the history of which dates back to 2000BC. Bait Al Kebir ‘the Great House’ is one of the most famous places in Bausher. It was owned by a great lady, Thuria bint Mohammed, who was known for her kind and generous deeds. The house was restored in 1992 and is now open to the public. Other sites worth a visit include Ain Ghala spring and Qurum Natural Park. For sports fans there is the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. The Natural History Museum and the Children’s Museum are also popular attractions.
Quriyat, which is located along the Arabian Gulf coast, was first settled even before Islam found its way to Oman and its name is a derivative of qariyat, which means ‘villages’. Most of the locals still adhere to the traditional customs and engage in the ancient crafts of making saddles, blacksmithing, boat building, raising camels and repairing firearms. The area has some beautiful natural sites, notably Wadi Daykah, a tranquil valley with fresh clear running water, which is a favourite among visitors and locals alike. There are also pristine beaches, like Bimma Fans and Dhabbab.
For shoppers, there is Muttrah Souq, the most interesting souq in all of the Arab Gulf States. You will find a variety of Arabian antiques, bright textiles and exquisite gold and silver jewellery. Don’t forget that it is customary to engage in bargaining at the souq and small shops.