Muscat, Oman’s port capital, sits on the Gulf of Oman surrounded by mountains and desert. With history dating back to antiquity, it mixes high-rises and upscale shopping malls with clifftop landmarks such as the 16th-century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani, looming over Muscat Harbor. Its modern, marble-clad Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, with 50m dome and prodigious Persian carpet, can accommodate 20,000 people.
Muscat's skyline sets it apart from its neighbouring Gulf cities. There are no elaborate buildings or high-rising skyscrapers, but even the most functional building is topped with a dome or an arabesque window. This has given the city an alluring and unique character. A port city, backed by arid Hajar mountains make for a terrain that is exciting and unusual. With souks to shop from, mountains to trek, deserts to explore and seas to swim in, Muscat is the ideal destination for those who want a bit of everything.
• MuscatAs the capital of Oman is a waterside heaven with a beautiful harbour. Visit the Grand Mosque there which, is a magnificent piece of contemporary Islamic architecture. Muscat has a number of detailed museums, souqs like the famous Mutrah Gold Souq and spectacular forts frequented by visitors. Do not miss the beautiful blue and gold Al Alam Palace. Muscat is an hour’s time by flight and almost five hours by road from Dubai.Many other towns like Nizwa and Sur on the outskirts of Muscat, sitting at the base of Hajar mountains hosts a few luxurious getaway resorts with breath taking views and a more forts to explore.
The heart of the Sultanate – Muscat
Muscat, the largest natural port of the world, is the capital of Oman and the place without which a visit to Oman is null and void. Muscat is a place where we see the traditional merge in harmony with modernization; the harbor of Muscat flaunts the traditional wooden dhows along with the Sultan’s Yatch; the Sultanate roads and hotels are world famous and so are the Grand mosque aka Sultan Qaboos Mosque and the Al-Jalali and Al-Mirani forts. The grand mosque in particular is known for its grandeur, architecture, world’s largest hand woven carpet and a 14 meter tall chandelier that is festooned in the praying hall. Though the whole mosque is not open to women, the mere site of it can leave you speechless.
– the capital of Oman, Muscat is a well developed modern city, that has managed to preserve its history and heritage. While spending time in Muscat I would like to experience local life as well as explore its rich past. The Bait al-Baranda museum located in a 1930s house, is a good starting point to get acquainted with the country's history and evolution.
Narrow alleys, piles of antiques, frankincense lingering in the air, souqs are an integral part of Omani life and provide the best window to experience local culture. The 200 year old Mutrah souq located in the old part of the city is famous for every kind of Omani artifact and souvenir. I would love to spend time wandering through its many alleys soaking in the madness and mayhem.
Souqs saturate the senses and I would like to walk along the Mutrah Corniche watching the sun set and unwinding the way the locals do after a hectic day of sightseeing and shopping.
Omanis take their religion very seriously, and the Grand Mosque built by Sultan Qaboos to mark 30 years of his reign bears testament to this. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful structures in the city, an ornate and magnificent prayer hall and the second largest hand- loomed Iranian carpet in the world - are some of the key attractions of the Grand Mosque.